Trans rights activists lead march against Bill 2

A march in solidarity with the transgender community precedes Nov. 20, the Transgender Day of Remembrance

Kicking off a weekend of events for the Transgender Day of Remembrance on Nov. 20, Aide aux Trans du Québec (ATQ) held a solidarty march for the gender plurality community of Quebec in front of the Montreal Courthouse on Nov. 19.

The march, which saw over 50 people in attendance, was held to so show support for the trans, non-binary, and gender non-conforming community, as well as to protest the proposed Bill 2. Notably, Manon Massé, one of the leaders for Québec solidaire, was present at the march.

Bill 2 would make it a requirement for people to undergo gender-affirming surgery if they want to change their assigned sex on their birth certificate. The bill would also make it so there is a new section for gender on birth certificates, with the possibility of a third non-male or female gender. Another aspect of the bill is that intersex people would have to apply for a change of designated sex as soon as possible.

“This really is a place for the whole trans community and allies to just to pour out our grievances against the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) government for proposing the most transphobic bill ever introduced in Quebec and Canada,” said Celeste Trianon, a trans rights advocate at the Centre for Gender Advocacy (CGA) and a speaker at the march.

The CGA is a Concordia fee-levy group that promotes gender equality and empowerment, specifically as it relates to marginalized communities. The centre does various programming, campaigns, advocacy, and has resources and services open to Concordia and the LGBTQIA2+ community.

“[Bill 2] would lead to so much harm for trans people,” said Trianon, who explained that not all trans people would want genital surgery, and that the wait times for such a surgery could be up to five years.

They explained that without a recognized photo ID, people will struggle to apply for employment and housing.

“It’s like another coming out for people, and we don’t want that,” said Trianon.

Jason Noël, the treasurer, secretary, and event planner for ATQ, explained that the on the weekend of the Transgender Day of Remembrance, there were multiple events planned throughout the day, such as conferences and brunches.

“We are going to have a moment of silence,” said Noël, who explained that Nov. 20 is to remember the trans people that have disappeared and raise awareness of the violence against the trans community. “It’s a very special thing, I would say it is one of the most important parts of trans pride.”

“We are hoping that for the night, people will be able to forget everything that’s happening in the world right now,” said Noël, who stated that because of COVID-19 they had to delay trans pride three times, and the weekend would mark the first time since the pandemic began that the trans community of Montreal would be able to come together and party.

“We’re just gonna dedicate the dance floor to the people who are not with us anymore, who disappeared because of violence,” said Noël. “And then the next morning […] we will go to brunch and that will be super fun.”

According to Noël, multiple organizations will be going to court to try and reform the bill on Nov. 29, but it may be delayed until December or later in 2022. 

“It’s a bill that’s bringing us back like 15 years,” said Noël, who criticized Canada and Quebec for appearing to be supportive of trans rights while allowing this bill to be proposed.

According to an article by the CBC, this bill is being presented as a victory for transgender people by the Quebec government, but could actually put trans people in a dangerous situation by outing them every time they show their ID.

“Get involved, be at protests, denounce the CAQ, hold your friends and entourage to do the same.” said Trianon. “We need more people to speak out against this bill.”


Photograph by Catherine Reynolds


Anti-Asian hate crimes spike in Canada

Following a mass shooting in Atlanta that targeted Asian businesses, Canada reckons with its own anti-Asian racism problem

Spikes in anti-Asian hate crimes have been reported all around the world, including here in Canada. Anti-Asian racism has been present throughout the nation’s history, and this year, the Asian community reports racial violence is becoming increasingly aggressive, especially since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A recent study outlined that over 1,150 incidents of anti-Asian racism were reported in Canada between March 2020 and February 2021. According to a report published by The Chinese Canadian National Council’s Toronto chapter (CCNCTO) and Fight COVID Racism, Vancouver has experienced up to a 700 per cent increase in anti-Asian hate crimes. 

In Montreal, there were 30 hate crimes reported between March and December of 2020, up from just six reported in 2019. Last May, a man of Korean descent was stabbed in Notre-Dame-de-Grâce.

In September, two victims of Asian descent were killed in a double hit-and-run in Brossard. A 30-year-old man has since been arrested and charged with second degree murder.

Police insisted the hit-and-runs were not hate crimes, but failed to explain why. Both victims were of East Asian descent; Huiping Ding, 45, was Chinese, and Gérard Chong Soon Yuen, 50, was Korean.

This year on March 11, a man of Korean descent was walking in the Plateau when he was attacked with pepper spray in broad daylight. Initially, police were not investigating the incident as a hate crime, although the victim considered the incident to be one. However, following media coverage, the hate crimes squad was brought in to investigate. The victim, a man identified as Nicolas, detailed that while he was carrying “the latest iPhone, the latest Apple Watch, the latest iPad and MacBook Pro,” but his attackers made no effort to rob him.

Days later on March 16, breaking news of a mass shooting in Georgia reported eight dead, six of whom were Asian women. A 21-year-old white gunman targeted three separate Asian-owned spas in Acworth and Atlanta. The shootings sparked outrage among Asian communities across the U.S., with protests held in Atlanta and New York the same weekend.

In the wake of that tragedy, Montreal community leaders organized a march against anti-Asian racism on March 21. Organizers led thousands of supporters on a three kilometre march from Cabot Square to Chinatown, stopping at Quebec Premier François Legault’s office on Sherbrooke Street. Activists demanded acknowledgement of the sharp rise in anti-Asian sentiment within Quebec. Premier Legault continues to deny the existence of systemic racism in the province.

Speeches made by leaders of Montreal’s Asian community outlined Canada and Quebec’s own colonial and historically racist treatment of Asians. Cathy Wong, councillor of the Peter-McGill district, spoke passionately of the racist history that the Asian community has endured.

“We march in remembrance of our history, as racism against Asians did not begin yesterday. It was not born from the pandemic. We march in remembrance of our history because our history is coloured by racist laws that excluded the Chinese — targeting our great grandparents, despite building railroads in exchange for dreams of a new life,” Wong said to the crowd in French.

Among the speakers was part-time Concordia professor Jinyoung Kim, who identifies as Korean-Canadian. Four of the six Asian women who were killed in Atlanta were of Korean descent.

“[It became] an immediate reality for me and for my friends, my parents, and everyone I know with Asian bodies in North America,” she said, before describing the threat of violence against Asians in the last year. “It’s been a year of fighting for justice, and it feels like nothing has gotten better.”

“I feel deeply the traumas that my BIPOC students go through,” Kim said, speaking of her Studio Arts students at Concordia. “I have heard stories from my students.”

The Atlanta shootings have sparked conversations about the fetishization of Asian women, with many activists citing the gendered violence and racism that Asian women face. In a press conference held shortly after the shootings, law enforcement officials said that the gunman confessed to the shootings, but denied racial motivations behind the attacks. Instead, the shooter saw Asian women as “temptations that he had to eliminate,” that he had a “sex addiction,” and that it was a “bad day.”

Following the Atlanta shootings, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau released a statement saying, “While we have made progress toward a more just and equal society, more still needs to be done, and the Government of Canada remains committed to this work.”

On March 22, New Democratic Party Leader Jagmeet Singh introduced the Anti-Asian Hate motion, which passed in the House of Commons. The motion called for the federal government to “properly fund” hate crime units across Canada, and make efforts to “identify best practices in countering this trend.”

But Singh echoed the sentiments of many, tweeting in response, “Justin Trudeau needs to do more than offer words, he needs to act,” in order to combat anti-Asian violence.  


Photographs by Christine Beaudoin


March Madness update

March Madness has already brought surprises to the table

One of the best sporting events of the year has finally arrived. Fans of college basketball have been waiting over 700 days for the next March Madness, as the tournament was cancelled last year due to COVID-19.

What a tournament it’s been so far. Let’s dive right in.

West Region

Let’s start off with the best team in the country. Before the tournament, there were many expectations for the Gonzaga Bulldogs. They went undefeated in the regular season, going 26-0 in the process. Needless to say they made it to the round of 16, also known as the Sweet 16.

The Creighton Blue Jays will play in the Sweet 16 after beating the 13th seed Ohio Bobcats 72-58, ending junior standout Jason Preston’s season. This will be Creighton’s first time in the Sweet 16 since 1974. Their leader, Marcus Zegarowski, led the way with 20 points in the second round matchup. A date with juggernaut Gonzaga awaits.

One first round matchup was cancelled due to the pandemic. The game between the Oregon Ducks and the VCU Rams was ruled a no-contest because of COVID-19 protocols on the VCU end. This gave Oregon an automatic win, which saw them advance to the round of 32.

The Iowa Hawkeyes, number two seed in the west, were hoping to give their star player Luka Garza, College Player of the Year favourite, one final shot at a championship. They won their first-round matchup against Grand Canyon Antelopes handily, 86-74, but the second round told a different story. They lost to Oregon by a whopping 15 points, 95-80. It will be interesting to see where Garza lands in the 2021 NBA draft.

The sixth seed in the west region, the USC Trojans, have looked phenomenal so far, and hardly anyone has been talking about them. They beat down the Drake Bulldogs in the first round 72-56 and beat an injured Kansas Jayhawks team 85-51 in the round of 32. We’ll see if they can keep it up. They match up against Oregon in the Sweet 16.

Midwest Region

All of the one seeds won their first round matchups rather comfortably. Number one seeds now own a 143-1 record against 16 seeds in the NCAA tournament. That sole win came in 2018, when the UMBC Retrievers defeated the Virginia Cavaliers 74-54.

Not all of the one seeds lasted very long though. The number one seed in the Midwest region, the Illinois Fighting Illini, lost in the second round to the Loyola Chicago Ramblers. Illinois came into this tournament as one of the favourites to win it all. The Ramblers proved they should not be taken lightly, as Cameron Krutwig showed that he is one of the most dominant big men in the country.

The Ramblers will play the Oregon State Beavers, who just beat the Oklahoma State Cowboys and top NBA recruit Cade Cunningham, 80-70. Oregon State was projected to finish last in their conference, the Pac-12. They now find themselves in the Sweet 16.

The Syracuse Orange has always been a fan favourite, but they have not garnered much attention after a slow start to the season. Everything changed for them once the calendar switched to March. They won against the sixth seed San Diego State Aztecs in the first round, and squeezed out a win versus the heavily favoured third seed West Virginia Mountaineers in the round of 32. Next up, a date with the powerhouse second seed, the Houston Cougars in the Sweet 16 of the Midwest region.

South Region

Upsets were bound to happen. But who would have expected them to be of this magnitude? This is the first time in NCAA tournament history that four teams seeded 13 or higher have reached the round of 32.

The most shocking upset of the tournament happened early on in the South region in the round of 64. The 15th seed Oral Roberts Golden Eagles defeated the number two seed Ohio State Buckeyes 75-72 in overtime. Kevin Obanor and Max Abmas led the way for Oral Roberts, scoring an outstanding 59 points combined. It’s going to be a long off-season for an Ohio State group that had championship aspirations.

Oral Roberts wasn’t done there. They came into the round of 32 with as much confidence as anyone. They shocked the basketball world once again, defeating the Florida Gators 81-78. They are the second 15th seed to ever make the Sweet 16. Could they be the first 15th seed to ever make the Elite Eight? They will be facing off against the heavily favoured third seed Arkansas Razorbacks.

Number one seed in the South region, the Baylor Bears will take on the fifth seed Villanova Wildcats in the Sweet 16 after both teams won their second-round matchups easily.

East Region

One 14th seed made it out of the first round of the tournament this year, and that team was the Abilene Christian Wildcats. It was a complete team effort, as the defence stepped up and no player scored more than 11 points in the victory. Sadly, that’s as far as they would go, as another underdog, the UCLA Bruins, defeated them in the second round. Alabama Crimson Tide and their high-flying offence is next on the agenda for UCLA.

Last, but certainly not least, we have the number four seed in the East region, the Florida State Seminoles. They survived a small scare in the first round against the St. Bonaventure Bonnies, but bounced back in a big way, blowing out the Colorado Buffaloes 71-53. They face the first seed Michigan Wolverines in the Sweet 16 after they beat the LSU Tigers 86-78. Eli Brooks was clutch down the stretch when LSU made it a close game. He poured in 21 points and seven assists.

There you have it, everything to get you up to date and ready for the next round. Buckle up for the Sweet 16, because the madness is just beginning.


Graphic by Rose-Marie Dion


Montrealers march to support Parkland teens

A month after Florida tragedy, hundreds of protesters demand gun control reform

“A year ago, I was sitting in the classrooms of Stoneman Douglas,” said Cyril Yared as he waited for the rally to begin. “I still have two sisters who are there.”

While millions have heard the horrific story of the Feb. 14 school shooting that took 17 lives in Parkland, Fla., for Yared, the tragedy is personal. Now a first-year McGill student, Yared graduated last year from Marjory Stoneman Douglas (MSD), the high school where 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz opened fire on teachers and classmates. While Yared’s sisters, who were both at school on the day of the shooting, were unharmed, Yared did know Carmen Schentrup, a 16-year-old girl who was killed by Cruz.

“I knew that one day the world would know her name—perhaps because she found the cure for cancer or some other extraordinary reason,” Yared said about Schentrup, whom he says remembers as a bright, ambitious student who took classes several grades ahead of her level. “She was left as evidence of another community shattered by the sound of gunshots.”

Yared was one of three Parkland residents who spoke at the rally in Cabot Square in downtown Montreal on March 24. Debbie Desmettre, a 1997 MSD graduate, and Ellen Malka, a mother of two MSD students, also gave stirring speeches.

“Our community, our peaceful little Parkland, was attacked,” Malka said. “These kids experienced things that nobody should ever have to.” She added that, while her children were not physically harmed in the shooting, one of them was traumatized by the sight of the victims’ bodies during the evacuation.

“Although this is an American issue, we feel it is our duty to stand in solidarity with our neighbours,” said Sophie Saidmehr, a McGill student and one of the two primary organizers of the local protest. “This is no longer a partisan issue; it is simply a question of our humanity.”

After the speeches, protesters marched along Ste-Catherine Street West and René-Lévesque Boulevard. Many protesters brandished signs with politically charged messages, including “Protect Children, Not Guns,” “Never Again” and  “We Call B.S.”—a reference to MSD student Emma Gonzalez’s now-famous speech given at a gun control rally in Fort Lauderdale on Feb. 17. Throughout the march, chants among the crowd included “Take no pay from the N.R.A.” and “Vote them out.”

The event, which gathered hundreds, was a sister march to the one held in Washington, D.C., which organizers estimate was attended by about 800,000 people, reported NBC News—300,000 more than originally predicted.

The protest, officially called March For Our Lives, was created in response to high rates of gun violence in the United States. According to Time, there have been 239 school shootings in the United States since 2014, resulting in 138 deaths. Many statisticians, activists and mass shooting survivors believe the astonishing rate of violence is connected to the country’s lax gun laws. In some states, weapons such as AR-15 style rifles can be purchased without a background check or waiting period.

For a long time, the cycle has seemed never-ending: another highly publicized, deadly mass shooting would occur, from Columbine to Las Vegas, and little political action would be taken after the news cycle ended. However, following the Parkland shooting, a number of teenage survivors voiced their outrage on social media and in the press, adopting the role of gun control advocates. In collaboration with the non-profit organization Everytown For Gun Safety, a number of MSD students, including Emma Gonzalez, David Hogg and Sarah Chadwick, organized the original demonstration in the capital.

Since the protest was announced in the days following the Parkland shooting, more than 800 sibling marches were planned across the globe. Other Canadian cities, like Toronto, Calgary, Vancouver and St-John’s, also participated.

Despite the topic of gun control often being labeled an “American issue,” some Montreal protesters handed out flyers opposing the fact that AR-15s, the weapon used in the Parkland and other high-profile shootings, are also legal in Canada. There are, however, tighter restrictions on these weapons here than in the United States, such as mandatory background checks and a cap on the number of ammunition rounds that can be owned at one time, set at five.

After just a few weeks, the Parkland shooting survivors have already made significant progress in passing Florida gun control legislation by pushing Senator Marco Rubio to endorse certain gun control measures. However, Yared said there is still work to be done, and it’s important that Canadian and American citizens who are concerned about this issue register to vote and speak with their government representatives.

“This march is just one step,” Yared said. “We just have to keep going forward […] We’ll have to fight at the polls to get the change that we want.”

Photos by Mackenzie Lad


Updated: Montreal marches on International Women’s Day

Hundreds of Montrealers took to the streets on March 8 to celebrate International Women’s Day.

Protesters met at 5 p.m on the corner of Queen Mary near Côte-Des-Neiges metro station, and at 6 p.m. marched to Nelson Mandela Park.

Women held signs that read, “We demand income equality” and “Where are the missing native indigenous women.”

The march began at Queen Mary Square in honour of the 14 women who were murdered at École Polytechnique on December 6, 1989, said Marie Boti, the organizer of Montreal’s International Women’s Day march.

Elizabeth Shepard, a protester and mother of two toddlers, explained her reasons for taking part in the social movement. “With statistics that show that women are making [less than] of what men are financially, in Canada, I feel like it is important for my daughters to know that, and that in the future that they can surpass this,” said Shepard.

Statistics Canada released new data on International Women’s Day this year, identifying that Canadian women earned 87 cents an hour for every dollar made by men in 2015.

“I am proud to be a woman these days,” said Sandy Bourdelais, a Montreal university student. “I am here to support women’s rights, and I am proud that our ancestors have fought for our freedom today.”

Crowd gathered at Queen Mary Square. Photo by Alex Hutchins.

“I hope that women can be treated equally,” Bourdelais said.

“The women’s march that we’re having right now is an amazing opportunity to celebrate this day because, unfortunately, we live in a patriarchy that still oppresses women,” said Samy Cheallah, a male student and marcher.

Photo by Alex Hutchins.

“Whether it’s working-class women, trans women, women from all over the world, it is important that we all mobilize and create a community where people can get together and raise their voices,” he told The Concordian.

Photo by Alex Hutchins.

“This year, SdBI will celebrate its 40th year,” said Julia Dyck, the communications and events coordinator at SdBI. “What we are seeing at the institute is that feminism is stronger than it has ever been.”

“It is not just rights for women—SdBI takes an intersectional approach on issues of racism, sexualism, colonialism, transism, ablelism and a generally social justice approach to all of these things,” Dyck said.

Photo by Alex Hutchins.

“International Women’s Day is a day to acknowledge how far we have come and all the important work women have accomplished and to address inequality,” Dyck explained. “Although there is a long way to go and there remains huge gaps in gender inequality and along the lines of race ability and religious social class, the idea that all of these things make up your experience is not as useful as looking at all of these issues together. “


“Make Racists Afraid Again” protest

An SPVM window was smashed, anti-Trump protesters were cleared with tear gas

Approximately 300 demonstrators protesting the inauguration of President Donald Trump marched down Ste-Catherine Street West in downtown Montreal on Friday evening.

The protest, called “Make Racists Afraid Again,” started peacefully in Phillips Square, but as demonstrators marched against the flow of traffic on Ste-Catherine, windows of commercial stores were vandalized. Montreal police, dressed in riot gear, used tear gas and shields to disperse the protesters after several people started throwing stones, smashing a window at the SPVM station on the corner of Ste-Catherine and Bishop Street.

Protesters mobilize against Trump as he was sworn in as the new president of the United States. Photo by Ana Hernandez.

The protest was organized by the Anti-Racist Resistance Collective of Montreal (CRAM) and Resist Trump Montreal, in partnership with DisruptJ20—a group that organized many large protests throughout the United States on Friday.

Protesters held banners denouncing Trump, the United States and fascism. Organizers used megaphones to chant ‘No more Trump, no more hate, America was never great!,’ as the march moved along the downtown thoroughfare.

Activist and organizer Eamon Toohey said the protest—meant to be “a show of solidarity with protesters in Washington”—was a success.

“We wanted to show that the rise of the far-right as represented by Trump isn’t welcome in the States and it isn’t welcome in Canada,” said Toohey.

When asked about the vandalism that took place during the march, Toohey said he didn’t have sympathy for the SPVM or businesses like American Apparel, which were targeted during the protest.

“I’m not going to condemn protesters smashing the window of the police station,” said Toohey. “The police are the armed wing of the state and serve [to] enforce the policies that place people in jeopardy. No condemnation there.”

According to The Montreal Gazette, Montreal SPVM said they did not ticket or arrest anyone.

However, Concordia student Maidina Kadeer said she was arrested while waiting with her friends following the protests. “[The police] grabbed me and slammed me against the window and began handcuffing me,” Kadeer said.

Police officers are seen in front of the broken glass. Photo by Adrian Knowler

“They, at no point, told me if I was being arrested, for what—[they gave] no reason as to why I was being handcuffed and arrested,” said Kadeer. Her other friend began filming the scene, but the officers then pushed him, threw his phone out of his hands and stomped on it, she said. “They held me like that with no explanation.”

Student Stéphane Krims came directly from McGill’s music school to march, carrying his double bass the entire way. Krims said he is worried Trump’s election has made hate more widely tolerable in America, adding that he was alarmed by “the [racist] behaviour that some people exhibited when they found out that Trump was going to be president.”

Blake Hawley, an American citizen at the Montreal protest, said he was embarrassed by the message Trump’s election sent to the rest of the world.

“[The United States] already didn’t have a great image, but it’s definitely worse now for sure,” said Hawley. He said he’s afraid American-Canadian relations may suffer during the Trump years.

“The whole idea of the American government isn’t taken seriously anymore,” said Hawley. “The U.S. is going to lose allies as we go into this administration. [Trump] might be as bad as everyone thinks. If he is, the U.S. will lose a lot more respect than it already has.”

Toohey said he is concerned that Canadians are not taking the election of Donald Trump seriously enough. “There’s a sense here in Canada of, ‘Oh, we’re not America,’” Toohey said. “But injustices and abuse of police power are happening in Canada too.”

“Things are going to get as bad [here in Canada] unless they’re challenged,” he added. “It’s not just the United States, it’s not just Trump. It’s what he represents and what he was elected on.”

Be sure to check out an audio piece on this protest on The Concordian Radio Show on CJLO 1690 AM on Wednesday from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m.


Marching through Montreal for missing and murdered

Eleventh annual march generated awareness of systematic violence and honoured the indigenous women who have passed

Hundreds gathered early Tuesday night near Place Émile-Gamelin in downtown Montreal. After a solemn opening prayer and a series of speeches, the throngs of people mobilized down Ste. Catherine Street, commencing the 11th annual  memorial march for missing and murdered indigenous women.

The event was organized by the Centre for Gender Advocacy, an independent, student-funded organization. The goal of the annual march, is to honour the memories of indigenous women and girls, and to raise awareness about the systemic nature of the violence against indigenous people.

Outlined by the ethereal glow of candlelight, the sea of faces advanced down the streets, chanting tirelessly to the beat of hide drums. Many supporters carried signs honouring indigenous victims of violence and expressing solidarity.

Guided by a police escort, the march snaked its way through Montreal’s Ville-Marie borough, stopping briefly on the steps of the Ministère de la Justice building and concluding in front of the Notre-Dame Basilica.

Investigations into the treatment of indigenous women in Canada, suggest these women are disproportionately affected by violence and discrimination. According to one Canadian government statistic, 16 per cent of all murdered women in Canada between 1980 and 2012 were indigenous, making up for only four per cent of the total female population.

On Sept. 1, the Canadian government launched an independent national inquiry into the issue of missing and murdered indigenous women. The purpose of the inquiry is to examine and report on systemic causes behind the violence experienced by indigenous women and girls. This inquiry was a cause for both celebration and skepticism at Tuesday night’s march.

“We have recently heard that there was an announcement for the launching of the national inquiry on missing and murdered indigenous women,” said Stacey Gomez, the Centre for Gender Advocacy’s action coordinator, at the vigil. “We want to draw attention to the ongoing limitations of this inquiry and echo the calls for a Quebec-specific inquiry.”

A Quebec-specific inquiry, Gomez explained, would more effectively address the unique problems faced by indigenous women in Quebec, such as the alleged sexual abuse and assault of aboriginal women by Sûreté du Québec (SQ) officers in Val-d’Or. The instances of abuse, which were uncovered by a team of investigative reporters at Radio-Canada last year, led to the suspension of the officers involved, and revealed a widespread mistreatment of indigenous women by the SQ. In August, the Quebec government decided against launching their own investigation into the allegations, instead leaving it to the broader national inquiry on missing and murdered indigenous women, according to CBC News.

Gomez suggested for people to become more educated towards the issue of missing and murdered indigenous women. “I see an increased awareness of the specific issue, both in the media and in the general public.”

After marching for an hour, the crowd reached its final destination and coalesced beneath the statue of Paul Chomedey de Maisonneuve. Under the watchful gaze of the Iroquois hunter, the final speakers were presented, and then the crowd gradually dispersed.


The Night is Not Enough protest takes over Phillips Square

The march aims to be more inclusive of all people battling sexual violence

On Sept. 6 at 6:30 p.m. the A Safer Concordia campaign, run by the university’s Centre for Gender Advocacy, hosted a march called “The Night is Not Enough,” which took place at Phillips Square in downtown Montreal. The goal was to demonstrate that the annual “Take Back the Night” march is not inclusive enough, as women are not the only ones who may face sexual violence.

Photo by Ana Hernandez.

According to Jada Joseph, a volunteer for the A Safer Concordia campaign and a Concordia psychology and child studies student, “The Night is Not Enough” aims to be a more inclusive protest for all people who have faced sexual assault, not just women.

Joseph said the march is not only calling out to all genders to participate, but also to all races as well as sex workers and individuals from the LGBTQ+ community.

Spoken word artist Shanice Nicole performing before the march. Photo by Ana Hernandez.

“We’re definitely taking a more inclusive alternative to the ‘Take Back the Night,’” she said. Joseph explained that “Take Back the Night” implies that gender violence only occurs at nighttime, when in fact gender violence is a continuum—it can start with cat-calling and escalate from there. “We are saying that the night is not enough,” she said.

Photo by Ana Hernandez.

“Sexual violence and gender violence is very pervasive in our society,” said Madison Kompagna, a Concordia student majoring in sociology and minoring in women’s studies. She said there is a very strong narrative in our society in which sexual violence only happens to women and only occurs at night. “It’s important that this event exists because it’s more inclusive of everybody,” Kompagna said.

If you or someone you know has encountered sexual violence and would like support, Concordia has resources on campus to help.

The Centre for Gender Advocacy is located at 2110 Mackay St., Sir George William campus. Hours are Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

You can call The Centre for Gender Advocacy at (514) 848-2424 ext. 7431. For peer support call (514) 848-2424 ext. 7880.

The Sexual Assault Resource Centre is located at GM-300.27. Hours are Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. You can reach them at (514) 848-2424 ext. 3461 or ext. 3353.
If you are in immediate danger at Concordia University call campus security at 514-848-3717.


Valentine’s march honours missing women

Annual event seeks to raise awareness on violence and abuse against aboriginal women

For 24 years, the march has been continuing across the country; with signs reading ‘Bring our Sisters Home’ and ‘No More Stolen Sisters,’ they proclaimed the continuing remembrance and determination to bring to light Canada’s epidemic of murdered and disappeared aboriginal women.

Originally started in 1991 in Vancouver, the march has since spread across Canada and highlighted the belief of activists that the government and police don’t afford it the necessary attention. The pressure for a government-run public inquiry has yielded nothing, with the Harper government so far refusing to budge. It was Montreal’s sixth annual event, which started off in Cabot Square and ended in Phillip’s Square near McGill.

According to official records, nearly 1,200 aboriginal women have gone missing or have been murdered since 1980 with 164 missing cases, and 1,017 murders. An RCMP report into the statistics said that while there were broad similarities to female homicide statistics nationwide, the rate of risk for First Nations women was much higher than the median. Other statistics show that aboriginal women, who account for just four per cent of the female population, make up 60 per cent of all Canadian women who’ve been murdered since 1980.

Marching down the blocks on a frigid February day, the hope on everybody’s mind was that this wouldn’t begin and end as a mere moment in time, as one march amongst a sequence. This sentiment was summed up by one member of the Justice for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women group, a grassroots organization working to educate the public and eliminate violence against aboriginal women.

“I can’t say for sure that we meet one another on a common ground of understanding, but it’s clear to me that there’s something that sustains us, there’s something that compels us to continue navigating these hurdles as a collective. I don’t know why any of you are here, I don’t know for whom you’re here, My hope is … we can walk together today, and we can support one another today, that we can turn towards one another and make a space for each of us in our grief and in our anger, and in our pain, and to allow all of that to co-exist as we walk together. I hope we can be forgiving of one another as we stumble forward and make mistakes and continue to learn.”


Thousands of Montrealers march against climate change

Already the biggest demonstration for the climate, the People’s Climate March on Sunday rallied hundreds of thousands of citizens around the world including over 1,000 in Montreal.

Following up the Bill McKibben and Ellen Gabriel climate talk that took place in early September, Concordia students and representants of Concordia Student Union joined the march starting in La Fontaine Park on Sunday afternoon.

CSU representatives had been visiting Concordia’s classrooms for the two last weeks to try to get students out for the march and raise awareness about fossil fuel economy.

The vice-president for external affairs and mobilization explained the importance of getting involved in the climate change movement.

“The impact was more the collective showing up [of] different parts of civil society. We were happy to see students from Concordia and [to] be here in support of what is the largest crisis facing humanity, which is anthropogenic climate change,” Anthony Garoufalis-Auger said.

Banners reminded the public of the the main concern of Canadian and Quebec environmentalists: the construction of pipelines and development of tar sands.

“We want the government to be fiercely opposed to the Energy East pipeline project,” Isabelle St-Germain, deputy director of Équiterre, said.

“While Quebec has an ambitious climate plan that brought down greenhouse gas emissions to 15 per cent since the ‘90s, emissions went up to 15 per cent in the whole of  Canada because of tar sands.”

The march was set up to precede the UN Climate Summit this week in New York on Sept. 23 — a summit which Prime Minister Stephen Harper will not attend.

“It is very much in line with his current policy of just expanding the tar sands. Stephen Harper is clearly not on the side of the scientific community on climate change but on the side of the fossil fuel industries which want to continue these extraction projects,” Garoufalis-Auger said.

While some think capitalism can’t mix with the environment — which is the subject behind Naomi Klein’s latest book, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate — the coordinator of the People’s Climate March in Montreal was optimistic. “Economy and ecology go together hand by hand,” Jenny Loughran said. “We can invest in a greener future, in green technologies and this is going to benefit to the global economy, not just Canada.”

Volunteers organised the march in five weeks through the use of social media.

For Loughran, Montreal must be an example for the rest of the country. “As part of Canada, unfortunately, we have a terrible reputation when it comes to climate change,” she said. “So it was really important to make sure we are part of this movement.”

The organizations joining the march will continue organizing other protests against climate change in a near future. Earth Day in particular, held on April 22, will be the next big event — in 2012, it gathered 250,000 people in Montreal.

More about the People’s Climate March and pictures from all around the world on


Taking back the night one step at a time

Photo by Celia Ste Croix

Take Back the Night! is an annual tradition taking place in multiple major cities around the world. About 60 protesters gathered at Norman Bethune square last Friday to condemn gender violence, sexual assault and what organizers call the “rape culture” in which we live.

Organized this year by Concordia University’s 2110 Centre for Gender Advocacy, the Take Back the Night! event started with a succession of speeches and performances from various Montreal-based associations.

“We live in a culture where rape and sexual assault are normalized and expected,” said Julie Michaud, administrative co-ordinator at the 2110 Centre. Michaud explained that the notion of women attracting predators by wearing short skirts or revealing clothes when walking alone at night reinforces the idea that sexual assault is expected.

Associations touched upon a range of topics but the nature of the message stayed strong from one speaker to another. Québec Trans Health Action, a group for the rights of transgendered people, condemned the dynamic of fear and exclusion in which certain individuals, especially sex workers, are forced to live in. The Action des Femmes Handicapées described the violent nature of the “circle of dependence” in which physically disabled women live.

Finally, the pro-choice Reproductive Justice League performed a chorus enumerating the many ways a person can say “no” to sex, from “I’m tired” to “I’m not sure” to simple silence.

The march started around 7:45 p.m. and carried on for an hour through the main arteries of downtown Montreal.

“It’s something I’ll never understand as well as [women] do, but marching in an event like this one gives me a better understanding,” said protester Andrew Hogg. “The problems of sexual assault are usually hidden and are personal things that often people don’t talk about. I also don’t think most men talk enough about sexual assault.”

On the way back to Concordia a seemingly confused bystander exclaimed, “Is that really a protest against sexual assault?”

The bystander, Peter — who declined to give his last name — was on a cigarette break outside the restaurant he works at when he saw the march passing on De Maisonneuve Blvd.

“Everybody is against rape,” Peter told The Concordian. “I don’t see the point for a protest and blocking the street for something everyone agrees on.”

This type of argument is common in today’s society and translates a misunderstanding about the nature of sexual assault, according to Felix Chu, a volunteer at the 2110 Centre.

“The problem is people don’t know what sexual assault is,” said Chu. “We have such a pervasive rape culture where saying a verbal no is the only thing that [will make] people … take no for an answer. But there are some people that will coerce and emotionally blackmail, especially in university settings where there is so much date rape. People won’t call it rape. That’s what we’re trying to change.”

The 2110 Centre has been campaigning for a number of years to have Concordia follow the example of McGill and the University of Alberta and create a sexual assault centre in order to welcome and help victims of sexual assault, as well as educate students on what consent is.


Marches take over the downtown core

Photo by Rob Flis.

A small contingent gathered outside the Montreal Police Fraternity for a vigil to commemorate the victims of police brutality and to protest authoritative misconduct, Monday evening.

The Justice for the Victims of Police Killings Coalition organized the event in solidarity with the annual march that takes place in the United States every Oct. 22. The coalition was comprised of the families of the victims of high profile deaths involving municipal, provincial or national police forces.

The speakers emphasized the need to stop racial profiling, excessive force and coercion from police officers while remembering the lives of the victims.

The event also focused on Officer Stefanie Trudeau of the Montreal Police, who has been scrutinized recently for her use of excessive force, a situation that organizer Julie Matson considers to be “the rule, not the exception” in most police forces nationwide.

Matson’s father, Ben, was killed during a confrontation with police in Vancouver, B.C.. According to Matson, her father was beaten following his arrest outside of a bar and a police officer pressed their knee into his neck causing him to die from asphyxiation.

Photo by Rob Flis.

Following a lack of criminal charges, Matson pressed for a public inquest before taking the case to court where she represented herself, and lost. Matson said she believes that wrongful deaths could be avoided by a systemic change in police technology and education.

“There needs to be a different approach,” said Matson. “There needs to be compassionate training because this kind of violence equals power in police officers’ minds.”

Earlier that day, hundreds of protesters marched through the streets of downtown Montreal for the monthly 22nd demonstration in support of a tuition fee freeze.

The Montreal Police declared the march illegal when protesters left Square Victoria because they did not provide the itinerary of their demonstration, therefore violating a municipal bylaw. The group headed toward Place Émilie-Gamelin before a small crowd separated and headed west to St-Elisabeth St. before police officers intervened.

Approximately 30 to 40 people were arrested for violating the road safety code and received $494 tickets, including student journalists from Concordia University.

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