Panelists Samantha Gold, Cem Ertekin and Jerry Gabriel discuss the Ghomeshi trials, recent terror attacks around the world and Netflix’s new actions regarding VPNs and Proxy Servers. Cem also gives us a McGill Update. Plus the Community Calendar and Predictions!

Host: Jason C. McLean
Producer: Hannah Besseau
Production Assistant: Enzo Sabbagha


Samantha Gold: FTB Legal Columnist

Cem Ertekin: Editor at The McGill Daily

Jerry Gabriel: Podcast regular and FTB contributor


* Ghomeshi and terrorism reports by Hannah Besseau

Microphone image: Ernest Duffoo / Flickr Creative Commons

On Friday, January 22nd and Saturday, January 23rd, I attended the Entertainment Management Conference, held at Sid Lee’s in Downtown Montreal. Now in its fourth year, the event was designed to allow emerging young professionals in on some of the trade secrets “behind the business that fuels culture.”

Run by a talented cast of students from McGill’s Desautels Management program, and backed by corporate sponsor Evenko, the event included a series of panels from professionals in Montreal’s music, film, nightlife, gaming, arts and media scenes. On top of that, the two day event included a series of workshops, as well as the opportunity for these young-entrepreneurs to network with professionals. The event provided a unique, immersive experience into the multi-faceted world of the entertainment industry.

As a student who is just about to graduate from McGill, I was hoping the event would give me something, anything, to hang onto as I wade into the uncertain world of “finding employment.”

Forget the Box’s Editor-In-Chief Jason McLean was a panelist during the Media portion of the event, and spoke at length about the challenges that online publications face in not only getting their message across, but also, building a brand and an ‘image’ in an online world that is over-saturated with content. In other words, how do we distinguish “good content” from “bad content?”

Jason’s point was a salient one, and resonated with me for much of the day. Now more than ever, the entertainment industry feels overloaded with “noise.” Take, for example, the insane social media buzz over Kanye’s new album– initially titled Swish, then Waves and finally, The Life of Pablo — which had most of the internet in a frenzy.

While people today are debating over whether Kanye actually ‘dissed’ Taylor Swift on his new track Famous, I got to wondering how much of the buzz surrounding the album’s internet campaign actually merited my time, or was worthy of my attention. Can we really classify Kanye’s latest album release as a solely ‘musical’ enterprise, when clearly, there are so many social and artistic dimensions at play? And at the end of the day, how am I to decide if Kanye’s hyping good content or bad content?

The EMC NIghtlife Panel (l-r) moderator Moderator Oriane Rosner, Noah Bick Creative Director of Passovah Productions, club owner Zach Macklovitch and nightlife promoter DL Jones (photo via EMC on Instagram)
The EMC NIghtlife Panel (l-r) moderator Moderator Oriane Rosner, Noah Bick Creative Director of Passovah Productions, club owner Zach Macklovitch and nightlife promoter DL Jones (photo via EMC on Instagram)

Over and over again, panelists from all corners of the entertainment industry– from Arbutus Records’ Sebastian Cowan, to Mad Decent’s DL Jones– stressed the importance of the network, that is, the face-to-face connection when promoting a party, an album, or a film. As the panelists spoke throughout the day, they consistently reminded us that nothing in the entertainment industry happens without a direct connection between the fan and the artist.

The event’s emphasis on forging personal connections was perhaps the greatest piece of advice that I took away from my time at the EMC 2016. In an age filled with more noise than ever, the panelists urging us to focus on the personal when building a career, of meeting directly with professionals and building relationships, is a crucial thing to note. And of course, their in-person presence at the event really drove that point home.

The professionals speaking at this year’s EMC were consistent in their message of how to make sense of a world filled with way-too-much information; of how to distinguish the things we like from the things we don’t, so we can learn to build our own careers. The message was simple, keep it personal. I’d like to thank all of the hard-working students and sponsors who made this year’s event an enriching experience: the Entertainment Management Conference is undoubtedly good content.

* Featured Image: EMC Media Panel (l-r) moderator Sean Finnell, Jason C. McLean, Editor-in-Chief of Forget the Box, JP Desjardins, CEO of Wallrus and Martin Spalding, VP and GM of local radio and TV for Bell Media. Image via EMC on Instagram

Shit just got real. Last week McGill University received a notice of seizure from Kahentinetha, one of the Mohawk woman titleholders, or kahtihon’tia:kwenio, of the land the school sits on, in fact they are titleholders for the whole island of Montreal, which used to be known as Tiohtià:ke.

Montreal’s own internationally recognized English academic institution which has stood for 194 years has done so on land that never belonged to it in the first place. Also, according to Kahentinetha, the school still owes the $1.7 million it borrowed from the Six Nations Trust Fund, though they claim they paid that amount back to the Federal government.

Now the title holders have finally had enough of McGill’s BS and want the squatters out. But why send a seizure notice to this one institution? It makes sense if you look at the school’s history and recent comportment.

Militarism, Experiments and Anglo Dominance

james mcgill statueMcGill University was the brainchild of an illiterate slave owner who wanted the English colonists to dominate the French. James McGill was told that the best way to accomplish his goal was to establish an institution of learning. So he left his fur-trading fortune to do just that.

In the decades that followed, McGill University would serve the interest of Montreal’s Anglo elite, harbour a serial killer in the making and promote militarism.

Ever wonder why the campus gym was originally called the Arthur Currie Memorial Gymnasium and Armoury? Well, that’s because it served as both leading up to World War 1. Ever take in an Als game at Percival Molson Stadium? It’s named for a McGill student from a prominent family who was recruited on campus to fight in a war which killed him.

The evidence of McGill’s military involvement is everywhere on campus. Initial development of the atomic bomb even took place on campus under the supervision of Ernest Rutherford who now has a building named after him

McGill was also used by the CIA in the 1950s. Dr Ewan Cameron conducted secret agency-funded LSD experiments on unsuspecting patients in the McGill-controlled Allan Memorial. Doing acid for fun is one thing, being given it without your knowledge so some so-called doctor can observe you for the CIA is a whole new level of despicable and unethical.

Recent Problems

In recent years, McGill doesn’t seem to have changed its colonialist pro-military tune much. Following hazing scandals (Dr. Broom) and an attempted, unconstitutional ban of protest on campus, it now looks like the University is actively trying to hide any current association with militarization.

Student Cadence O’Neal wanted to know about the University’s involvement with military contractors CAE, Bell Helicopter, Bombardier, Lockheed Martin, Textron, General Atomics and others. She filed an Access to Information request and the case is currently before Quebec’s Commission on Access to Information. McGill is trying to withhold 8944 emails between these contractors and the CFD Lab which specializes in the research and development of 3-D modelling software for the aerospace industry.

Enough is Enough

It’s no small wonder that the actual titleholders of the land have had enough. McGill has been getting away with far too much over the years and refuses to change its ways.

They won’t display the Hiawatha Belt Flag on National Aboriginal Day out of “risk of losing the privilege” of flying the McGill flag but have no problem replacing their colours with the flag of the Queen of England when the Gouvenor General pays a visit. They have also refused requests to move the Hochelaga Rock, commemorating the Mohawk village that once was here, to a more prominent location.

With that level of unwarranted indifference on the small stuff and a history of pretty atrocious big stuff, the time has come for McGill to deal with their landlords.

Legally speaking, I’m not Canadian.

What I am, however, is a university student in Canada. I’ve made the conscious decision to leave my home country behind, and come here so that I could find myself a “better” life, whatever that might be. My reasons are my own, and may not be reflective of everyone’s; but that does not change the fact that I am not the only international student in this country.

The usage of the term “international student,” however, is a form of branding. It separates you from the rest of the population, and hovers over your head as a constant reminder that you do not really belong here. It can be argued that individual universities try their best to make sure international students feel like they belong; but what ends up happening is that you end up feeling like you belong to your university, and not necessarily to your province, let alone Canada.


The fact that international students are expected to pay more than Canadian students does not help rectify this problem, at all. For instance, at McGill University, the tuition fees for international students are roughly $18 000 per academic year, while Quebec residents pay around $4000.

A Quebecois student could complete four Bachelor of Arts degrees for the same amount of money it takes for an international student to complete a single degree.

Ignoring all the social and cultural impediments that might make international students feel alienated; this simple fact is enough to make international students feel as if they’re nothing more than just another source of income for their universities, if not their province.

Let me get one thing straight, before I go any further. Education is not a privilege, not even post-secondary education. Within the context of the capitalist system, in which not having a university degree is unfortunately the equivalent of being unqualified to work, education has to be a right. Education has to be accessible.

“Why not stay in your home country?” I can almost hear you asking. Not all countries are equal. Not all countries can offer the quality of education that most Canadian universities can. Yet the capitalist system is the same everywhere. Is it not the right of any young person to seek the education that might make them have a shot at a decent life? If they feel trapped, if not suffocated, in their own country, why shouldn’t it be their right to choose a new life?

And no, just because I am an international student, does not mean that I have to pay more. No form of economic dire straits can justify that, but it has been the norm in the past, and it is still the norm. Back in 1996, Quebec’s attempts in increasing student fees failed due to student backlash; however international student fees were still increased.

The Arts Building of McGill University

Another place where you can see the normalization of more expensive international tuition fees is Quebec’s relationship with McGill University. According to McGill, they are required to give more than $50 million of their tuition revenues from out-of-province and international students to the province.

You might say that this is to be expected in the context of the budget cuts, and the general economic crisis that is wreaking havoc across the globe; but that’s a very cheap answer. How do you account for countries that can actually manage to do this? In France, for instance, education may not be free, as students are still expected to pay between €150 to €750 per year, but at least all students are treated equally. It does not matter whether you are French, or Turkish, or Canadian.

France’s economy is not significantly better than Canada’s. In fact, in some aspects Canada is faring better than France. So, how is it that France is able to treat all students equally, while Canada is struggling really hard with this?

Furthermore, because of my status as an international student, I am still hesitant about actively seeking my rights, and in some instances I cannot even do that. Why? Because the only thing that makes me “legal” in this country is a piece of paper attached to my passport. And whatever I can or cannot do in Canada is all written on that little piece of paper.

For instance, on that little piece of paper I’ve just mentioned, it is stated that I need to be a full-time student at my academic institution. Say that I want to run for an executive position at my student union, so that I can be in a position of power from which I can actually have a shot at changing things. As far as McGill is concerned, I have to be a part-time student in order to be an executive at my student union. You can see why that is problematic.

Even if I want to do small things, say create a campaign, or organize a protest or something along those lines; the system makes me hesitate. It is normal that I pay extra. It is normal that I bear the burden of a government’s mismanagement of their budget.

It is normal that I pay extra, because studying here is a privilege that has been bestowed upon me by the benevolent government of Canada.

This is but one of the symptoms of a culture based around the idea that citizenship is a privilege that is earned. “Canadianness” should not be a blessing given by the government, which dictates what rights I can ask for. The irony of asking for permission to live in a “post-colonial” country aside, where I am from should not have anything to do with what rights I have. Does my non-Canadianness destroy the very essence of your nation? If that’s the case, then good.