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


The legal Battle to represent Concordia’s Teaching and Research Assistants

Two unions spent the summer working behind the scenes to be Concordia TAs’ and RAs’ official union

While many Concordians were taking some well-deserved time away from school this summer, two unions were fighting to be the official representatives of Concordia’s Research Assistants (RAs) and Teaching Assistants (TAs).

Despite collecting the membership of a majority of TAs and RAs at the end of their campaign, the Concordia Research and Education Workers Union (CREW) failed to get accredited this summer. The Teaching and Research Assistants at Concordia Union (TRAC) remains the official union, but TAs and RAs will have to vote this fall to choose the group that will represent them. 

CREW was created last March when all members of TRAC’s former executive team resigned to form a new union that was meant to be more independent. In their letter of resignation, the team spoke out against TRAC’s parent union, the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC). According to them, PSAC was hindering the fight for better pay and better work conditions for TAs and RAs at Concordia. 

“The university takes full advantage of these dynamics [between TRAC and PSAC],” CREW wrote in the letter, “exploiting PSAC’s poor results and lack of consultation, not to mention its lack of a participatory union culture […] to push around our members and chip away at our working conditions.”

Bree Stuart, who was president of TRAC until May 2022 and is now their interim administrative assistant, disagreed with the arguments CREW was making in the letter. To her, PSAC had always been present in a supportive role whenever TRAC needed them.

She was also shocked that the executive team would resign while they were bargaining for a new collective agreement.

“That, to me, is just super disingenuous, that you can start bargaining in a union that you’re trying to destroy,” Stuart said.

The campaign for memberships

Before CREW could become the accredited union representing Concordia’s TAs and RAs, they had to campaign against TRAC. Both unions had until April 3, 2023 to collect as many membership cards as possible from the TAs and RAs.

“You could think of it as a referendum, in a way,” explained Stephanie Eccles, campaign coordinator and organizer at CREW. “So folks had to give their allegiance to TRAC or their allegiance to CREW.”

The deadline of April 3 had been chosen by both CREW and TRAC because union raids—the process of challenging an existing union—can only legally happen 60 days before the end of a union’s collective agreement. 

The accreditation 

On April 3, at midnight, CREW filed their membership cards with the Quebec Labor Board (TAT). At the time, they reported having 1,700 members out of Concordia’s 2,100 TAs and RAs, a number confirmed by TAT documentation.

“We were feeling very good about going into the court date on May 30,” recalled Eccles. “And then, on May 26—and this is how we found ourselves in our current situation—PSAC refiled a petition to certify the TAs and RAs at Concordia.”

On that day, PSAC sent the court a new list of their members, one in which they had a majority of memberships for TAs and RAs under contract on May 26. 

The reason they were able to refile despite being past the 60-day deadline was that PSAC had never filed TRAC’s Collective Agreement with TAT. In other words, in the eyes of TAT, TRAC’s Collective Agreement had expired on May 31, 2021.

“We just did a side agreement with the university,” said Eccles. “And so, what that means is that for the last few years, our union has been open to raids by other unions. It has not upheld the legal protections necessary.” 

The Collective Agreement had still been signed by the union and the university. According to Stuart, “even if it hadn’t been filed with the TAT, it was a signed, legally binding contract between Concordia and TRAC.”

As things stand now, CREW had a majority of signatures on April 3, and TRAC had a majority on May 26. There will be a secret email ballot in the fall to act as a tie-breaker and determine which union will be accredited. TAs and RAs should receive more information about who is eligible to vote in the next few weeks.

In the meantime, TRAC is still the official union and collects 1.84 per cent of TAs’ and RAs’ salaries, according to Eccles.

Where we currently stand

Two weeks ago, on August 22, TRAC elected their new executive team during an online General Assembly that student media was barred from attending. The quorum for the meeting was 30. TRAC claims that this quorum was met, at least during the votes at the beginning, but Eccles claims the election was done without meeting quorum.

Xiang Chen Zhu is TRAC’s newly elected mobilization officer. He initially supported CREW, but after the accreditation issues this summer, he started thinking that their campaign was taking time and attention away from bargaining and supporting TAs and RAs. “CREW has basically promised us everything will be transitioned smoothly,” he said, “and you will get a wage similar to the McGill students, which is around $33 [per hour].”

Marcus Granada, an organizer with CREW, disagrees with the idea that his union made false claims during their campaign last semester. He said that while CREW cannot make promises about wages or conditions, they can promise to fight for TAs and RAs. “Part of the campaign is being as transparent and honest as possible,” he said, “and not selling them a dream.”

What to expect in the coming months

Both unions are now turning their focus to the secret ballot this fall and the campaign that will precede it. The date for the vote is not yet set. 

“Of course, CREW is feeling very confident because, when we filed on April 3, we had over 1,700 of the 2,100 cards available,” said Eccles. “We had a strong majority.”

Granada highlighted the importance of mobilizing TAs and RAs to show up for the vote. “If the voter turnout is under 50 per cent of the TAs and RAs, then PSAC automatically wins,” he explained. “So we need to get the votes and we need to get a lot of people to vote as well.” 

On TRAC’s end, Zhu said they are ready to move on to bargaining. “Whoever wins the ballot, they should focus their time and effort on something that students really care about right now,” he said.

On her end, Bree Stuart believes that the secret ballot will give people a chance to express their true opinions about the union.“I just feel like it’s more ethical because people can take the time to sit down, educate themselves, and really make their own decision on what they want, who they feel is more apt at taking their bargaining demands into their own hands,” she said.


Mayor Valérie Plante wins re-election

Plante enters her second mayoral term with majority support

Valérie Plante won a second term in Montreal’s mayoral race on Nov. 7, earning 52 per cent of the vote. The mayor surpassed her main opponent Denis Coderre by nearly 60,000 votes, and 11 out of 19 boroughs in Montreal will now be governed by Plante’s Projet Montréal party.

In the next four years, the returning mayor promises to improve housing affordability, increase funding for the SPVM, develop more cycling infrastructure and public transit, and also revitalize Montreal’s downtown core.

“We will put all the effort in the world to continue making Montreal a city that we are proud of, where we can raise our children, study, work, and live out our retirement in an active way,” said Plante with a smile during her victory speech.

It was a difficult loss for former mayor Denis Coderre and his Ensemble Montréal party. In late October, the two frontrunners were within one percentage point of each other in the polls, but there was a clear winner on election night as Coderre lost by a 14-point margin.

“The results are clear: you win some, you lose some. But I am very, very pleased I was pushing ideas,” said Coderre at the Ensemble Montréal event on election night. “[…] And I was focusing on the people, because I love the people, I love Montreal and that’s what’s most important — to bring people together!” he exclaimed.

Meanwhile, Movement Montréal’s Balarama Holness, who promised to make Montreal an officially bilingual city-state, came in a distant third place with seven per cent of the vote.

Montrealers, however, did not have a strong showing at the polls, as the 2021 municipal election had a voter turnout of just 38 per cent. The participation rate was four per cent lower than in 2017, despite a larger number of polling stations, mail-in ballots, and the four-day advanced voting.

Michel Bissonnet, mayor of the Saint-Leonard borough, told The Concordian that voting was especially difficult for the elderly population.

“When you’re older and you have to go to vote and you have four [candidates] to vote for, they have four ballots at the same time. It’s easy when it’s a federal or provincial election, it’s one person. But when you get four people, you have to put a picture of the man they recognize — they can’t read, they are not happy,” explained Bissonnet, referencing the fact that voters need to pick the mayor of Montreal, their borough mayor, and city councillors separately.

Unlike the Plante-Coderre race, several boroughs had a very close election that resulted in premature celebrations and recount requests. In Côte-des-Neiges–Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, Ensemble Montréal’s Lionel Perez declared victory over Projet Montréal’s Gracia Kasoki Katahwa on Sunday night, as he was leading in the vote count on Nov. 7. The next morning, however, Katahwa stunned Perez by pulling nearly 200 votes ahead of her opponent by the time all votes had been counted.

In Quebec City, the mayoral race was even more controversial as media outlets made false projections and declared Marie-Josée Savard as the new mayor. Two hours after delivering a heartfelt speech thanking all of her supporters, Savard ended up losing to Bruno Marchand by just 834 votes. TVA Nouvelles and Radio-Canada have since apologized for their decision to call the election prematurely.

As for Montreal, the Plante administration promised its citizens a safer city in its second mayoral term. Projet Montréal is committed to investing an additional $110 million to reduce gun violence, increase the police force by 250 officers, and install body cameras on SPVM agents by 2022.

The mayor also plans to expand Montreal’s blue metro line towards Anjou and build a new line from Montreal-Nord to Lachine — though this promise dates back to Plante’s 2017 campaign and has yet to be fulfilled. Moreover, seniors may be able to ride the STM network free of charge in the coming years.

Other campaign promises include the creation of 60,000 new units of affordable housing, extended operating hours for downtown bars and restaurants, more green spaces, and free parking on evenings and weekends downtown to encourage commercial activities during the holiday season.


Photograph by Bogdan Lytvynenko

Concordia Student Union News

Referendum questions ready for the ballot

CSU passes the questions that will appear on the referendum

Correction: A previous version of the article incorrectly stated that an additional student fee charge for Sustainability Concordia, The Link, and SEIZE could not be opted out of. They can be opted out — all fees collected for fee-levies organizations at Concordia can be opt-ed out of.

At the Concordia Student Union (CSU) meeting on Oct. 27, multiple questions were passed to be put on the referendum, including whether there should be a mandatory course on sustainability, and a charter of students’ rights. Here are some of the questions students will vote for in this upcoming election.

Position against transphobia

The CSU wants to add a position in support of trans, non-binary, and gender-non-conforming people to its positions book in lieu of the Quebec government’s proposed Bill 2.

Bill 2 will make it so that someone cannot change their sex on their government documentation without having gender-affirming surgery.

“It’s basically asking trans people to out themselves,” said Hannah Jamet-Lange, the CSU’s academic & advocacy coordinator.

Jamet-Lange explained that the CSU has a general position in their position book in solidarity with LGBTQIA2+ people, but Jamet-Lange wanted something that was specifically in support of trans, non-binary and gender-non-conforming people.

The position book is the CSU’s stance on political, social, and student-life issues. For any position to be added to the book, it must be first voted on by students in a referendum.


The CSU wants to know if students want Concordia University to implement a pass/fail grading option until the pandemic is over. For the 2020-2021 academic year, students were allowed to receive a pass/fail notation in one class per semester. It was implemented as a way to reduce stress and burnout in students.

“We’re still in the pandemic, and people are still struggling,” said Jamet-Lange, who explained that student stress has not lessened during the return to in-person classes due to the continuation of the pandemic.

Charter of Students’ Rights

This question is asking the Concordia community if the CSU should create a charter of students’ rights and responsibilities. Many universities have a charter of rights, including McGill and UQAM, but Concordia does not have one.

Jamet-Lange explained that the CSU wants to see if students are in support of the charter before the CSU puts in the time and effort of creating the document.

Sustainability Curriculum

According to the question, Concordia is four times lower than the Canadian national average on sustainability learning outcomes in the curriculum. The question asks if students want Concordia University to commit to ensuring that all students learn about sustainability and the climate crisis in the curriculum by 2030.

Fee levies

Fee levy groups are organizations elected by students in referendums who receive their funding from student fees. They provide different services for students, such as free meals from The People’s Potato.

Multiple fee levy groups are asking to increase the amount of money they collect from undergraduate students, such as the CSU Advocacy Centre, which provides students with independent representation in disciplinary proceedings. They are asking for an extra $0.14 per credit, resulting in a total increase to $0.45 of the fee-levy amount, as the negative impact of COVID-19 has caused an increase in students reaching out for help. This means the centre has had to increase its staff and hours in order to support the influx of students.

Should this pass, an additional student fee charge will also increase by $0.42, to a total of $1.35 per 3-credit course, which cannot be opted out from.

Sustainable Concordia, an initiative that aims to reform systems that contribute to the climate crisis, is asking for an increase as their organization is growing and wants to give more support to their staff. The fee-levy increase will be to $0.07 per credit, resulting in a total increase to $0.22, and will be annually adjusted to the Consumer Price Index of Canada.

This fee-levy increase will result in a change of $0.21 to an additional student fee charge, to a total of $0.66 per 3-credit course, which can be opted-out from.

The Link, another independent student media publication at Concordia University, is asking for an increase of $0.10, resulting in a total fee-levy increase to $0.29. The organization has not requested a change to their amount since 2001 according to The Link, and seeks to increase funds to support their reporting, improve multimedia opportunities for students, enhance diversity and equitability, and account for inflation.

Should this pass, an additional increase of $0.30 for every 3-credit course will be added to the student fee charge, resulting in a $0.87 fee which can be opted out from.

A new fee levy group, SEIZE, is asking to be established. It will become, “a solidarity economy incubator,” which will, “engage students through the support, development, study and promotion of democratic enterprises.” SEIZE’s fee would be $0.29 per credit.

Should this pass, an additional student fee charge of $0.87 per 3-credit course will be added, a fee which can be opted out from.

Recorded Lectures

The CSU is asking if students want them to advocate to the Concordia administration for the implementation of either live-streaming or recorded lectures. The CSU states that at the beginning of the pandemic, the university allowed for classes to be recorded. Now as classes return to in-person, recorded classes have been reduced, yet many students, such as international students, are still unable to attend them.


Photograph by Lou Neveux-Pardijon


Municipal elections are coming up, but will students be heading to the polls?

Concordia students spoke with The Concordian about the upcoming municipal elections, and whether or not they will be casting their votes

With Montreal’s municipal elections right around the corner, some Concordia students say that casting their vote on Nov. 6 and 7 has never felt more critical.

In the past, first-year Concordia student Roxanne Tesar, 22, did not consider herself as someone interested in municipal politics. This year, she headed to the polls.

Tesar says that she wants to see change when it comes to municipal politicians’ priorities in Montreal.

Questions surrounding Bill 96 — a bill looking to recognize Quebec as a nation with French as its official language — and systemic racism in Montreal are issues that feature prominently on Tesar’s mind this election season. 

“I’m connected because I’m not bilingual, I’m anglophone and I’m a person of colour,” said Tesar. “Issues regarding racism and language affect me.”

Issues concerning language rights and inclusion, public safety, and systemic racism were among those tackled during Montreal’s English-language mayoral debate on Oct. 28.

While Tesar is participating in this year’s municipal elections, she says that she understands why some students may not feel as inclined to do so.

“It’s harder to get involved when you feel like you’re in the dark,” said Tesar. “If you think that it’s pointless and then stop becoming informed, you’re not going to want to be involved.”

Julia Lecompte-Robbins, 20, said that she does not feel invested in the upcoming elections. “I’m not very involved in it I guess,” she said. “I’m not very political, that’s pretty much it.”

Driving past vibrant posters of different councillors in her riding of Beaconsfield is the limit of her awareness of municipal politics this election season, she said. While Lecompte-Robbins voted in the recent federal elections in September, she felt that the scale of Montreal’s elections has impacted her willingness to vote.

“[The municipal election] is very small,” she said. “I don’t find that it has that big of an impact as it would if it was provincial or federal.”

For Lecompte-Robbins, encouraging young people in particular to vote in this election and being politically aware feels unnecessary.

“We’re young and it’s not like we own a house, most of us live with our parents,” said Lecompte-Robbins. “It’s mostly our parents that deal with the stuff that happens, so it’s not much of a concern for ourselves.”

Béatrice Soucy, 23, a political science and human relations student at Concordia, said that she feels discouraged by the low number of young voters in her age group.

“Our generation is the future,” said Soucy. “It’s sad to see young people losing faith in politics.”

Concordia graduate journalism student, Duncan Elliott, 25, believes that participating in the municipal elections is important now more than ever.

“The municipal decisions directly affect your street, your home, your community,” said Elliott. “I see that a lot of people don’t vote in their municipal elections, but I think it’s the one people should vote for the most.”

Municipalities are responsible for close to 60 per cent of Montreal’s public infrastructure. From bike paths and community centres to road signage and the police department, the City Hall plays a critical role in managing key services of everyday life. Municipal elections historically have low voter turnout. In 2017, only 43 per cent of eligible voters cast a ballot. During Canada’s federal election later in September of this year, 62 per cent voted. 

“The fact that not a lot of people vote in [municipal elections], I think is where younger people can really have their voices heard in the community,” said Elliott. “A lot of people complain, but not a lot of people do anything about the complaints that they’re issuing. Now is the time to do something about it.”

Lack of voter participation among young people is nothing new to overall voting trends. There is a significant gap in voter turnout between younger and older age groups in Canada. Half of Montrealers aged 56 or older cast their ballot in the 2017 municipal elections, compared to only 29 per cent of those aged between 18 and 35.

According to the 2015 National Youth Survey from Elections Canada, a lack of motivation and access are the two key barriers preventing young people from voting.

“I think it’s because they don’t think they can effect change,” said Elliott. “Not only do I think that it’s important for people to have their voices heard, they should try to be more involved in the community so they can make more well-rounded decisions.”


Graphic by Madeline Schmidt


Liberal Party wins the federal election: results unchanged since 2019

Meanwhile, Concordia University witnessed a rather smooth voting procedure on both campuses

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will continue to lead the country with a minority government, as the Liberal Party won 159 seats on Sept. 20, coming 11 short of a majority. The Conservative Party, led by Erin O’Toole, remains the official opposition with a total of 119 seats.

Costing Canadians an estimated $610 million, the 2021 federal election ended up more expensive than any other in Canadian history, surpassing the 2019 election costs by $100 million. Despite winning two additional seats, the Liberal Party was unable to reach a majority — an objective that pushed Trudeau to call a snap election just two years into his term.

“You are sending us back to work with a clear mandate to get Canada through this pandemic, and to the brighter days ahead, and my friends, that’s exactly what we are ready to do,” stated Trudeau in his victory speech at the end of the election night.

Going forward, the Trudeau government promises to develop a national childcare program, increase the supply of affordable housing, enforce vaccine mandates for federal workers, make clean water more accessible for Indigenous communities, and cut greenhouse gas emissions by 40 to 45 per cent by 2030.

Although voter turnout dropped to 59 per cent this year, mostly due to the COVID-19 pandemic, hundreds of thousands still took part in the election on the Island of Montreal.

Home to the Loyola campus, the Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Westmount borough reelected its Liberal MP Marc Garneau with 54 per cent of the vote. In the same riding, Concordia graduate Mathew Kaminski came in third place as a Conservative candidate with 14 per cent of the vote.

Voting at the Loyola Chapel has been an overall success with almost no queues on election day, according to the station’s central poll supervisor (CPS) Nevena Jeric. She told The Concordian there were many efforts to inform all students of the voting rules on campus, especially when it comes to their residential address.

“Many students received an email that, as long as they lived in the riding, they could vote on campus. […] We had maybe one or two people who were turned away, but they weren’t surprised either since they were on campus anyway and tried to vote with their friends just in case,” said Jeric.

The supervisor added that, although the younger generation did not have as strong of a showing as expected on election day, many students had likely cast their ballots during the four days of advanced polling. Nationwide, Canadians set a new record for early voting: nearly 5.8 million citizens selected their candidate before election day, representing an 18 per cent increase since 2019.

However, the voting situation was slightly different at the SGW campus downtown.

Charles*, serving as the supervisor of two polling stations in the EV and LB buildings, noted that there was an impressive engagement from young voters. Having supervised federal and provincial elections at McGill University in the past, he observed “a much stronger participation” from the student population at Concordia’s downtown polling stations compared to those at McGill.

During advanced polling, some students had to wait for as long as two hours to cast their ballots due to a high volume of participating citizens. Experiencing major delays was the most common complaint addressed by downtown voters.

To improve the voting process, Charles said that out-of-province students were allowed to leave their mail-in ballots in a designated box at the downtown station. This additional measure was implemented for the first time on campus, making the election process more convenient for those who recently moved to Montreal.

Polling stations closed at 9:30 p.m. on both campuses, and CBC News announced the projected winner of the federal election just an hour later.

Montrealers showed strong support for the Liberal Party, which won 16 out of 18 ridings on the island. One of them is the Dorval-Lachine-LaSalle borough, where Fabiola Ngamaleu Teumeni — a 20-year-old Concordia student representing the NDP — managed to place third with 13 per cent of the vote.

In Quebec, more voters supported the sovereignist Bloc Québécois (32.6 per cent) than the Liberal Party (31.9 per cent). With 33 seats in the House of Commons, the Bloc has achieved its best results since the 2008 federal election.

Nationwide, the Conservative Party won the popular vote by nearly 200,000 ballots. However, since Canada’s electoral system works on a first-past-the-post basis, the winning party was determined by the number of ridings — and therefore, seats — it has won.

This election’s outcome was almost identical to that of 2019, when the Liberal Party also earned over 155 seats and secured a minority government. As the voting took place in the middle of the fourth wave of COVID-19 and broke records for government expenses, many have questioned the urgency and timing of this snap election.

Nevertheless, Justin Trudeau now begins his third term as Canada’s 23rd prime minister.

*Charles requested his last name not be disclosed.


Graphic courtesy of Maddy Schmidt.



Joe Biden will be the next U.S. President, but Trump refuses to concede

While Democrats won the 2020 presidential election with a record turnout, the current president claims the election was stolen

Joe Biden will be the 46th president of the United States. He is projected to win the presidential election with at least 290 electoral votes, surpassing the threshold of 270 needed to win. Biden’s running mate Kamala Harris will become the vice president, being the first woman, as well as the first Black and first South Asian person in American history to occupy this position.

Biden received over 75 million votes, an all-time high for a presidential candidate, earning 50.6 per cent of the popular vote thus far. Meanwhile, 70.6 million Americans voted for the incumbent President Donald Trump.

Although the presidential election took place on Nov. 3, it was far from over that night. As Biden and Trump had an incredibly close race in several battleground states, Biden was announced as the projected winner only four days later. In his victory tweet, Biden addressed the nation, saying, “America, I’m honoured that you have chosen me to lead our great country.”

On election night, Trump was leading in the majority of swing states. However, in Pennsylvania, Georgia, Michigan, and Wisconsin, Trump’s lead started to shrink the following day as the mail-in ballots were being counted.

The 2020 election witnessed the highest number of ballots in U.S. history, with over 159.8 million Americans having cast their vote. In fact, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the country had a 66.8 per cent voter turnout, the highest since the year 1900.

Biden and Harris have also broken several records themselves. At the age of 77, Joe Biden became the oldest president-elect in American history. The previous record was held by Donald Trump, who was 70 years old when he won the 2016 presidential election.

Despite the Democrats’ projected win, President Trump appears to not be willing to deliver a concession speech anytime soon. In fact, he refuses to accept the outcome of the election, claiming there was widespread voter fraud and lack of transparency.

“If you count all the legal votes, I easily win the election! If you count all the illegal and late votes, they can steal the election from us!” stated President Trump.

He was referring to millions of mail-in ballots that were counted after Nov. 3, which strongly favoured his opponent and led to Trump’s loss. In fact, those millions of mail-in votes were just as valid as in-person votes that were cast on Election Day, since they were all stamped on or before Nov. 3. As laws in Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin barred officials from processing the mail-in ballots before 7 a.m. on election day, many of them were counted in the days that followed.

Trump questioned Biden’s increasing lead as the remaining votes were being counted.

“How come every time they count Mail-In ballot dumps they are so devastating in their percentage and power of destruction?” asked the president on Twitter.

In reality, the remaining mail-in ballots were coming from heavily Democratic urban centres such as Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Atlanta, Georgia. Moreover, the Trump campaign ran Facebook ads earlier this fall to warn his supporters not to trust mail-in voting. Republicans were thus more likely to vote in-person than Democrats, which created an illusion on election night that Trump was the favourite to win in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Georgia.

Instead of accepting the result as it became clear, Trump tweeted “STOP THE COUNT!” on Nov. 5. This anti-democratic process would prevent the president-elect from overtaking Trump in battleground states. Besides this unprecedented request, Trump suggested that “there was a large number of secretly dumped ballots as has been widely reported,” even though there is zero evidence that could prove such a claim.

The incumbent president plans on taking this matter to the U.S. Supreme Court, which he believes should determine the final electoral college results. However, it is very unlikely that Supreme Court justices will get involved in the election, as the Trump administration lacks concrete evidence of “widespread voter fraud” for this legal strategy to work.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau congratulated Biden and Harris on their election win Saturday morning. In an official statement, Trudeau said that “Canada and the United States enjoy an extraordinary relationship,” and that he looks forward to working with the president-elect, vice president-elect and the U.S. Congress to “tackle the world’s greatest challenges together.”

When it comes to Canada, Biden’s presidency may add some uncertainty to trade between the two nations. On the one hand, Biden’s environmentally-friendly policies are likely to open the market for Canadian clean energy technology. There will also be less uncertainty regarding Canadian steel and aluminium, which were temporarily subject to tariffs imposed by Trump in 2018.

On the other hand, Biden has pledged to cancel the Keystone XL pipeline, a multi-billion dollar project that would allow Alberta to transfer over 800,000 barrels of crude oil a day across the border to Nebraska. Meanwhile, Trudeau actively supports this project and vowed to press any U.S. government on its approval.

As for the Canada-U.S. diplomatic relations, the president-elect referred to Canada as an ally and a friend, “one that the U.S. needs more than ever.” Biden also called for the United States to play a more active role in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), an international military alliance that includes Canada as a long-time member.

Going forward, Biden promised that he will be a president for all Americans, who “doesn’t see red and blue states, but a United States.”

While Trump refuses to accept defeat and to respect the choice of the American people, Canada prepares for a new chapter in the relationship between the two nations.

President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris will have an official inauguration ceremony on Jan. 20, 2021.



Editorial: Why we excluded the People’s Party of Canada from our election coverage

As we were deciding how to layout the election coverage in the News section of our paper, we were faced with a decision: do we or do we not include Maxime Bernier’s People’s Party of Canada alongside the other contenders?

We debated for a while, but settled on a unanimous opinion: we, as NDP leader Jagmeet Singh said during the English debate on Oct. 7, do not believe Bernier deserves a place on the stage.

In a tweet back in September, Bernier called 16-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg “clearly mentally unstable.” In fact, he went on to say Thunberg is “Not only autistic, but obsessive-compulsive, eating disorder, depression and lethargy, and she lives in a constant state of fear.”

Objectively, these are shitty things to say. These aren’t words anyone would expect from a potential leader of the country. What’s more, is he was saying these things in the context of climate change denial. He said efforts to address the climate crisis, like those undertaken by Thunberg, are “a movement that is a threat to our prosperity and civilisation. If [Thunberg] wants to play that role, she should be denounced and attacked.”

Denounced. And. Attacked.

Sorry, w h a t ?

It appears as though Bernier is a) not super into science and b) super into publicly insulting (and inciting violence towards?) children.

Furthermore, the People’s Party platform states on its website that “In a free society, immigrants have the right to cherish and maintain their cultural heritage, however, that doesn’t mean we have any obligation to help them preserve it.” It also says Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has created “cult of diversity.”

Outside of the fact that a “cult of diversity” is, very obviously, an oxymoron, we at The Concordian firmly believe multiculturalism is something that should be encouraged and celebrated, not reduced to anti-Canadianism.

Everyone in this country, save for Indigenous people, is an immigrant. Let’s not pretend otherwise. The People’s Party wants to cut the annual amount of immigrants and refugees accepted into Canada in half, from 350,000 to between 100,000 and 150,000. They also want to interview every candidate for immigration to “assess the extent to which they align with Canadian values and societal norms,” according to the party’s website.

We at The Concordian believe that denying people the right to seek refuge or to create a better life for themselves is what does not align with Canadian values.

Lastly, the People’s Party website constantly uses the term “aboriginal,” which many Indigenous people have labelled problematic as the “ab” may carry the connotation of meaning “other” or “non” (think “abnormal”). When referring to Indigenous people, it’s important to ask them on an individual basis how they identify.

Despite the fact that some may be okay with the term “aboriginal,” others aren’t; so why not use a term that has not been flagged as problematic or insensitive? No other political party used “aboriginal” in their platform. It doesn’t take much to pay attention to these details, and the People’s Party’s inability to do so is concerning.

Obviously, as a newspaper, we know freedom of speech is important. But that doesn’t give a person the right to spew whatever hateful thoughts travel through their brain; especially not someone who is leading the country. The line is drawn when your opinions are inherently hateful or when they disrespect and invalidate other people’s existences.

So, “People’s Party,” but only if you don’t believe in the climate crisis, think bullying children is okay, and see diversity as a problem. Not our party. Not in our newspaper.

The Concordian would also like to take this opportunity to remind everyone to participate in democracy and cast their vote on Oct. 21. This year, millennials make up the largest portion of the voting population.


Feature photo by Alex Hutchins

Poli Savvy: Start the clocks, the countdown starts.

With one week left to go, federal leaders continue to compete for the public’s attention in the press and through their policies.

Justin Trudeau is trying hard to put the blackface controversy behind him. Obviously deflecting with new and more “a-pleasing” promises than ever, the Liberal leader is neck and neck with Andrew Scheer. However, there is something to be said about his efforts to meet the more progressive party platforms, in an attempt to keep the left-wing vote away from the NDP and the Green Party.

What do I mean when I say party platform? Well, I’m talking about the promises our leaders are making to us. Trudeau – trying to escape his long rap-sheet – is promising net-zero emissions by 2050, and a tax cut that will allow everyone’s first $15,000 in income to be tax-free. Jagmeet Singh, the second leading progressive leader is also promising major climate and economic action. Don’t get me wrong, these leaders are not interchangeable. In matters dealing with the Indigenous communities, Singh has been more favorable due to his strong stance on the clean-water issue in northern Indigenous territories, while Trudeau has been accused of doing little for Indigenous communities.

During the french speaking debate hosted by TVA, we saw four of the six candidates debate questions of foreign policy, Bill 21, and climate action. Conservative leader Scheer scrambled to connect with the Quebec audience, and through his support for the TransMountain pipeline, it’s likely he didn’t win many votes outside of Alberta that night.

As a follow up, the English speaking debate this past Monday included all six federal leader candidates. I’m not sure whether this debate was meant to replicate the dynamics of a high school classroom, but that’s besides the point. Yves-François Blanchet once again proved that he is fighting for the rights of Quebec – more specifically, their right to equalization payments.

Singh made quite an impression as the media declared him the winner of Monday night’s debate. His ability to connect with people is uncanny, and translates to a loss of votes for the Green Party; too bad it won’t be enough to become the default progressive leaders.

So in this coming week, my fellow Concordians – stay alert, listen, and most importantly: vote.


Graphic by @sundaeghost


Voicing our votes

Well, we’re back folks. This week’s editorial may seem pretty uncontroversial, but it is important nonetheless. The Concordian would like to remind all of you Quebec residents out there that you should definitely vote in the upcoming provincial election. There are plenty of reasons to go vote, including exercising your right to freedom while we’re not yet living under a fascist regime.

The main reason is this: voting is fun! Go out and vote, tell your friends, hell, make an event for you and some people you know to go to the polling station together. Talk about the candidates while you wait in line, socialize, network, exercise your skills in the art of virtue signaling. Voting is really as much about the journey as it is the destination.

It is easy to feel small and insignificant next to the scale of the faceless, multinational capitalist machine that is our contemporary society. But one way of confronting that is to pull up your bootstraps, go out, and be a responsible citizen.

As important as your vote is in the singular goal of electing a new political leader, it is also powerful as a statistic. If politicians see that a higher percentage of young people are voting, or whatever other demographic you’re from, future political platforms will be more tailored to your priorities and ideologies.

Politicians will see that x number of young people/students voted, what their political ideologies are, and future political campaigns will be tailored to that new information. Your vote has a direct impact in letting the powers that be know what you want.

You might feel like there’s no point in voting because none of the running candidates have your interests in mind. While there may be some truth to this, the best way to change that is to let them know that you are watching and you are invested enough to vote. If you really dislike all of the candidates, you can vote “no preference,” which still gets your opinion out there.

There’s really no excuse not to vote, especially if you claim to care about political issues. We get the whole day off from school (though sadly, the make-up day is on a Sunday), so you might as well use that time to do something productive that will make you feel accomplished and fulfilled. To find out where to vote, all you have to do is go to and enter your home location. It will provide the exact address, dates and times you can vote. If your riding isn’t in Montreal, use this as an excuse to go home for a bit. Like, “Yeah, I’m totally not homesick at all I’m just going home to vote,” in case you need to save face or protect your rep.

Vote to speak and have your voice heard. Vote to shift the structure of the society that we live in. Vote to move toward an idealized, socialist utopia. If nothing else, vote to gain a sense of superiority over those who didn’t vote. That’s always fun.

Archive Graphic by Alexa Hawksworth



Put down your textbooks and vote

Put down your textbooks and vote

Will you walk past the polling stations set up around campus from March 27 to 29 or cast your vote for the new Concordia Student Union (CSU) executive?

With finals on the horizon, student union elections likely sit near the bottom of many students’ priority lists. This is counterintuitive. For any student hoping to flourish in university and make the most of their experience at Concordia, the CSU election is arguably the most important election to participate in.

With more than $6.5 million in revenue from fees in the 2016-17 academic year alone, it’s clear the CSU has the money and resources to significantly impact the university experiences of the more than 35,000 undergraduate students it represents. By casting a vote in the CSU election, students can have a real say in how the student union is governed and how those resources are distributed.

But it’s not just about the money. The CSU and other student associations are often the ones directing the university administration’s attention to serious problems on campus. Most recently, the CSU successfully demanded the right to recruit the undergraduate members of the Task Force on Sexual Misconduct and Sexual Violence, and is continuing to advocate for more student seats on the task force. The CSU also hosted a congress on Feb. 28 to give all students the opportunity to voice their concerns and suggestions for policy changes about how sexual misconduct on campus is dealt with.

It is the CSU’s top mandate to defend the rights of students and ensure our voices are heard. This is at the heart of their past and present campaigns for paid internships, climate justice and fossil fuel divestment, anti-austerity and ending tuition hikes. Services provided to students through the CSU range from the health and dental insurance plan to the legal information clinic to the daily free lunches offered at the Loyola Hive Café. The Housing and Job Resource Centre (HOJO) helps students find jobs and educate themselves on tenant and workers’ rights. The Student Advocacy Centre promotes student rights and assists students with issues of academic misconduct or violations of the Code of Rights and Responsibilities.

Among the responsibilities of the new CSU executive will be ensuring a smooth beginning for its downtown daycare centre and the successful completion of the $14 million housing co-operative.

Regardless of your outlook on student politics, it’s nearly impossible to be an undergraduate at Concordia and not be impacted in some way by the CSU. As with any other election, it is important to participate in the democratic process. Unlike other elections, however, your vote carries weight. You are one of 35,000 students, rather than one of about seven million eligible Quebec voters or one of over 25 million eligible Canadian voters.

So put down your textbooks, close Facebook, grab yourself another cup of coffee and take a minute to learn about the candidates and their platforms. What changes do you want to see on campus? Who’s advocating for the things you care about? Who do you want to be your voice for the next year?

Now, more than ever, there is proof that students can make an impact when they stand up and speak up for what they believe in. Students are no longer expected to follow the status quo and accept their circumstances. It may not seem like much, but casting a vote from March 27 to 29 is a step toward making Concordia a more engaging, safe and positive place for everyone.

Graphic by Alexa Hawksworth

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