Michelle Williams, what do you mean “vote in your self-interest”?

Michelle Williams first won my heart not too long ago.

Her role in The Greatest Showman, more specifically her performance of “Tightrope,” embodied everything a complete hopeless romantic like myself feels when in love: faith, devotion through highs and lows, “mountains and valleys, and all that will come in between.”

The 2019 Golden Globes honoured Williams with a Best Actress in a Limited Series award for her role in Fosse/Verdon. Although I didn’t watch the show, reviews were great: Rotten Tomatoes gave it an 81 per cent rating, while IMDb had a 7.9/10 rating. Knowing her — loving her — I will say she deserved it, and that’s that!

Except that it isn’t.

Much like the popular tendency of celebrities to get political at award ceremonies, Williams took the opportunity to emphasize the importance of voting for women. She spoke beautifully about the importance of choice, and how thankful she was for being acknowledged for the choices she has made as an actress and as a person. She added that she’s grateful to “live in a society where choice exists, because as women and girls, sometimes things happen to our bodies that are not our choice.”

In a way, this is all anyone ever wants — to live where, once you look back, you recognize your own handwriting, as she put it. Now, I think it’s important to note that Williams was not at all addressing an international audience in her speech. She was specifically speaking to American women, encouraging them to employ their right to vote. Even more so, she urged women to vote in their own self-interest.

“Wait, what,” was my exact reaction. To this day I’m unsure if I misunderstood it, or she really meant it that way, but to me, “self-interest” should never be what fuels a democracy. A modern society is a collection of different people coexisting in the same place — asking each and every one of them to think of their own self-interest when it comes to matters that will unquestionably and unequivocally affect the other is not only wrong, it’s absurd. As Williams pointed out in that same sentence she preached for self-interest, “it’s what men have been doing for years.”

Since when do we want to do what men have been doing in matters of democracy and the world? I mean, two World Wars, literally countless acts of colonial violence, and abuse of power historically led by men, why would we ever want to do what they have been doing?

Women, exercise your right to vote. Do it so the world “looks a little more like us,” but also make sure that “us” isn’t just an inverted version of the selfishness and cruelty that a world led by white men has brought us. The world looks so much like men because they’ve chosen so selfishly that there was no room for otherness — instead of self-interest, how about public-interest?



Graphic by @sundaeghost


Advanced voting available on campus from Oct. 5-9

“Every voice matters and every vote counts in an election,” said Concordia President Graham Carr in an emailed statement sent to the Concordian. “Concordia is happy to host, like several post-secondary campuses, polling stations for our community and our neighbours.”

From Oct. 5 to 9, those who are eligible can cast their votes ahead of the official Oct. 21 date. Advanced voting is available at several other universities and CEGEPs across the country for this year’s federal election.

According to Pierre Pilon, Regional Media Advisor for Elections Canada, the initiative to make voting more accessible to students began in 2015. The last federal election launched a pilot project involving 40 post-secondary institutions to offer advanced voting to students and staff. Concordia partnered up with the project for a second term this year, along with over 100 other institutions.

Pilon said this partnership is voluntary.

Offered on both the Loyola and downtown campuses, eligible Canadians can vote at the following times: Oct. 5, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Oct. 6, from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.; Oct. 7, 8 and 9 from 10 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.

“I encourage everyone, and especially our students, to make their voice heard by taking advantage of the on-campus polling stations at Concordia and the possibility to vote early on certain days even if this is not your assigned polling station,” said Carr.

Concordia student James William Altimas, 22, said he plans to vote. The joint specialization anthropology and sociology student said the climate march on Sept. 27 solidified his decision. Seeing such a large number of people manifesting for change inspired him and made him think that his vote, along with all the others, could change something.

“The big reason why I’m voting is because of climate change,” said Altimas. “Maybe we can make a difference.”

“I voted before but never really thought it was going to make a difference,” he continued. “But this time around, there’s a lot of people realizing that we’re fucked if we don’t do anything.”

How to register to vote

Those who are over 18, have proof of Canadian citizenship, and have an address, can vote.

You must register before voting, otherwise you are ineligible. You can use the Online Voter Registration Service before Tue Oct. 15 by 6 p.m.

You can also register to vote in person at any Elections Canada office across Canada. If you register before the 15th, you will get a voter information card in the mail that tells you where and when you can vote.

Alternatively, you can register to vote on Oct. 21, the official date of the elections. Don’t forget to bring proof of address with you. Before voting, you should know the names of the MPs running in your electoral district.

At Loyola campus, the polling station is located at the Jesuit Hall Conference Centre, RF Atrium. For the downtown campus, it’s located at the J.W. McConnell Building, in the LB Atrium.


Graphic by Victoria Blair


Concordia Student Union News

CSU by-elections draw a crowd

Nine councillors, two referendums approved with nearly 2,700 votes cast

Nine new councillors and two referendum campaigns are victorious following the Concordia Student Union (CSU) by-elections.

In a turnout that was nearly double that of the last general election, students voted overwhelmingly in favour of online voting, with over 2,400 votes in favour, just 107 opposed and 158 abstentions.

“I could not believe it,” said Arts and Science Councillor Chris Kalafatidis, who led the campaign in favour of online voting.

As for future elections, Kalafatidis said he would like to stay with Simply Voting, the online voting system used by the CSU, but would also be open to having other companies bid on the contract.

This does not mean the union is mandated to implement online voting. “The referendum question is not binding,” CSU General Coordinator, Sophie Hough-Martin, told The Concordian. “Technically, because we used it for the by-elections, I suspect that council will just mandate us to implement it for the March general elections as well.”

However, she said “going forward, we would have to have a binding referendum that actually supports the permanent implementation [of online voting] as a replacement of paper ballots.”

In a hotly contested race for the open Arts and Science councillor seat, Jane Lefebvre Prévost beat out her five opponents with 30.8 per cent of the vote. Her runner up, Victoria Bolanos-Roberts, earned 26.2 per cent. “The by-election hasn’t been the smoothest logistically-speaking, but I’m really proud of everyone who ran,” said Lefebvre Prévost. “Candidates did their best to support one another throughout it.” She hopes to introduce mandatory anti-racism workshops for all councillors during her term.

Gina Cody School of Engineering and Computer Science (GCS) candidates Eduardo Malorni and Patrick Lavoie won the two open GCS seats in an eight-person race. “What helped me the most [was] definitely the support of all the people and friends I’ve met at the GCS,” Lavoie said. “This was pretty clearly a close race, and every vote mattered.” Lavoie hopes to acquire more funding for GCS student societies and improve transparency within the union.

Eliza McFarlane defeated her opponent, Pat Jouryan Martel, to win the Fine Arts seat. All five candidates from the John Molson School of Business were elected to council.

Finally, students approved the union’s proposed fee levy restructuring, with over 1,300 students (or 62.5 per cent of voters) voting in favour of the proposed changes. Starting in the summer semester, the fees for operations, clubs and the Advocacy Centre will go up by 20 cents, 6 cents and 10 cents, respectively. To compensate, the fee levy for the Student Space, Accessible Education and Legal Contingency Fund, which funds projects like the Woodnote Housing Cooperative, will be reduced by 36 cents.

“It’s certainly a relief, I’ve gotta say,” said Finance Coordinator John Hutton, who introduced the referendum. “I was confident that it would pass, but until I actually saw the numbers in front of me, I wasn’t willing to let myself calm down.”

Hutton said the restructured fee levies will correct several of the union’s structural deficits as soon as they are implemented. Although the change was meant to take effect this semester, the postponement of the by-elections last fall means restructuring will only happen in the summer semester.

Regarding online voting, Hutton said the savings from electronic voting will likely leave the union under budget for its campaigns expenses for the year, even though its by-elections had to be repeated. In particular, the union saved about $17,000 that would have otherwise been spent on election security in its second by-election.

Opinions differed as to what was responsible for the increased voter turnout. Almost 2,700 students voted in the by-election, representing 7.4 per cent of all undergraduate students. By contrast, the March 2018 general election only drew around 1,400 voters.

Kalafatidis said the online voting system was entirely responsible for the increased voter turnout. “I do not believe any other variable had a significant impact,” he said. “Maybe a really small one, but that’s it.”

Hough-Martin said it was the number of candidates, especially in Arts and Science and the GCS, that generated interest in the election.

Arts and Science Councillor Patrick Quinn, who chaired the CSU’s elections and participation committee, said it was a combination of both. He said the email each member was sent with links to vote played a major part in increasing voter participation.

Despite the increased turnout, Hough-Martin said the union has a long way to go to improve voter turnout. “We would like to be seeing numbers in the double digits.”

“I think that there is still work to be done in voter engagement, and to get people more involved with the student union,” said Hough-Martin.

Photo by Hannah Ewen.

Concordia Student Union Opinions

One CSU member explains the advantages of being able to vote online

One CSU member explains the advantages of being able to vote online

Full disclosure: I work for the Vote YES to Online Voting campaign. I am chair of the Concordia Student Union elections and participation committee. Today, I am writing to tell you why I am for online voting at Concordia.

To save money

For the last four elections, the CSU has spent an average of $36,000. Last year, $53,000 was spent on an election that only saw 1,424 votes cast. That’s approximately four per cent of the student population. Each year, the money spent on elections goes toward paying for ballots, polling clerks, deputy electoral officers, ballot counters, the chief electoral officer and security. Last year, the CSU spent $14,000 on security alone. The amount of money spent on student elections at Concordia is excessive given the number of people who actually vote. A lot of money would be saved if voting was done online. One external company estimated that using their system would cost $7,500. Based on the CSU’s 2018 General Elections CEO Report, this would have saved the union nearly $22,000, which could have been reinvested in new electoral practices, such as new election positions and advertising.

To improve security

Although some people have concerns about the security of online voting, it’s important to recognize that the current CSU election procedure is not secure either. In October, ballot boxes from the CSU’s 2017 by-election were left unattended in the hallway on the fourth floor of the Hall building. Those boxes contained people’s names, their ballots and the ballot ID associated with them. This information could be used to identify who each person voted for. It’s also important to consider that security is about risk management. Before selecting a company to administer online voting, the CSU can do its due diligence by asking questions about security measures and ensuring certain standards are met.

To be more sustainable

Currently, the CSU uses paper ballots in their elections. The union’s sustainability policy defines sustainability as “the process and outcome of achieving social justice, economic equality and environmental health by reducing our economic footprint and empowering communities.” Switching to online voting would allow the CSU to further reduce its economic footprint and contribute to environmental health. The less paper used, the better.

To increase accessibility

As is, the CSU’s voting system is not accessible to people who have disabilities, such as hearing or vision impairments. Some online voting companies, such as the Montreal-based Simply Voting, offer accessibility features and are regularly audited by the Bureau of Internet Accessibility. By working with an online voting company, the CSU could make its elections inclusive for all Concordia students.

To increase convenience

The truth is, online voting is convenient. I live off island. It normally takes me an hour and a half to get to school by public transportation. The winter weather only makes this worse. A long commute, disruptions to public transit or bad weather can all contribute to a student’s decision to stay home and miss the opportunity to vote. Although the CSU voting period lasts three days, it’s not uncommon for students to wait until the last minute. Time is of the essence and casting a ballot online would be faster and easier.

At the end of the day, we all want what’s best for the CSU. Online voting has the potential to get more people to participate in student elections. I have seen a lot of apathy toward voting at Concordia. We need to do something to fix that, and this is a start. Let’s change how we do things at the CSU by saying “yes” to online voting from Nov. 27 to 29.

Graphic by @spooky_soda



When you keep your voice quiet, don’t shout about results

We shouldn’t be required by law to vote, but we should practice our duty as citizens

Whether or not voting should be made mandatory has often been debated. While some believe that those who don’t vote should be fined, I disagree. A key tenet of western democracy is the right to vote. A right is something that is granted to those who live in any given society. According to the CIA World Factbook, 22 countries currently have it as law that you must vote. In Australia, one of the 22, the government implements a $20 fine for those who don’t vote in federal elections. However, just because you are afforded a right, does not mean you have to use it.

In my opinion, the government forcing you to participate in a vote goes against what freedom means. Voting isn’t a jobwe vote because it is a right that was fought for, and to voice our opinion on how society works. In the last Canadian federal election in October 2015, about 68 per cent of eligible Canadians participated in the vote, a notable increase from 2011, where just over 61 per cent participated, according to Global News. In comparison, voter turnout in the Australian 2016 election was at 91 per cent, the lowest since mandatory voting was introduced in 1925, according to sources from the Australian government’s website. Obviously, the forced voting produces a bigger turnout, and that is, in theory, better for a democratic society.

The problem with mandatory voting is that it becomes less of a right and more of a demand. Do I want every single eligible Canadian to vote? Absolutelyvoting is, in my opinion, the most important aspect to maintaining a free society. However, when voting is no longer in our control, it defeats the purpose entirely.

I consider voting a democratic duty rather than a decision a government makes for you. In order to be a functioning member of society, you must participate in voting. If you are eligible to vote, and you choose not to, I believe you have no right to complain about who’s in charge of our government.

Since our confederation in 1867, according to several sources including Veteran Affairs, over 115,000 Canadians have died to not only defend our freedom to vote, but to ensure that millions around the globe can as well.

If your preferred candidate doesn’t win, at the end of the day, that is still democracy. If you fulfilled your duty as a citizen, your opinion matters just as much as those who voted for the winning candidate. Become politically active and peacefully protest if you don’t like the actions of a politician. As soon as you stop participating, you give the politician more power over you. I urge everyone to vote, even if their political views differ from mine. I would much rather have my political ideas challenged in a democratic society than have those ideas go unopposed.

I say this because that is what democracy is all about; groups of people with different opinions coming together, to make a country better. Is our system perfect? Of course not––politics is a messy business, but when you don’t participate, it encourages corruption.

When people don’t vote, I believe they shouldn’t be upset that their opinion isn’t taken seriously. When you choose to not vote, you are just as responsible for passing that law, as the hand that signs the bill.

Graphic by Ana Bilokin



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


Concordia Student Union Opinions

Take the time to vote at CSU byelections

Important questions are on the ballot this year that deserve your attention

For students, this is probably your least favourite time of the year—except maybe May. Final projects are adding up, exams are looming on the horizon, there aren’t enough hours in a day and sleep is a by-gone memory. The last thing that’s on your mind is probably voting in the student referendums, and really, who could blame you? Every second spent voting is a second spent not chugging down your sixth latte and reviewing the readings you should have done months ago.

We’re all stressed, but, you need to know that this vote is important. There’s a lot at stake for undergraduate students represented by the Concordia Student Union (CSU).

There are many issues on the ballot this year other than candidate elections.Multiple questions are being put to referendum before action can be taken and this is where the student body comes in.

Many of the issues at hand represent projects that require funding and labour to be diverted within the student union. Without majority support, these initiatives will likely die and it’s important for voters to make informed choices.

Do you feel strongly about the Israel-Palestine conflict? How about the current state of student housing? Or the Hive Cafe?

What about austerity cuts facing the entirety of the provincial public sector? How about daycare services for student parents?

All these issues are more are on the ballot. It’s not just a question of what benefits you receive, but where the student body stands as a whole. It’s a question of where your money will be going, and what will be done with it.

It’s up to the student body to determine what is, and is not, worth fighting for.

With three days to vote—Nov. 25, 26, and 27—you have no reason not to get involved. Unfortunately, a very small percentage of Concordia students actually participate in student-run elections annually. Don’t be swayed by apathy—this is your chance to make your voice heard.

Inform yourself on the issues: read the Letters to the Editor included in this issue on pages 21 and 22, do some basic research online, or talk to your friends about how they feel.

Make your choice.

And most importantly: vote.

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