Forget The Box’s weekly Arts Calendar is back for its early November edition. The chill has definitely returned to Montreal, but that doesn’t mean it’s time to lock ourselves indoors yet! Take a look at these excellent events if you’re looking for fun and inexpensive things to check out!

As always; if you’re interested in going to one of these events and want to cover it for us, send a message  or leave a comment below.

Bareoke presented by Glam Gam

No stranger to performing in local strip clubs with the burlesque troupe Glam Gam, Lipster’s organizers realized this type of venue would surely allow them to transform their karaoke show into Stripster!

Now you can find them the first Saturday of every month at the historic Café Cléopâtre, which comes equipped with a large stage, a smoke machine and crazy lighting which allows people to take their performances to the next level.

Glam Gam’s organizers have made an important step in making the space open for everyone, according to their Facebook event page : “We are thrilled to have performers of all different backgrounds, ages, body types, gender identities and sexualities. Some people will take off just a sock, others will get down to their skivvies and a lot of brave souls prance around in their birthday suits! The best part is that everyone respects and encourages each other’s boundaries with little to no policing on our part.”

Come see what all the fuss is about!

Bareoke @ Café Cléopâtre, 1230 St Laurent, Saturday, November 5, 10PM, $5

FTB is no stranger to Glam Gam!
FTB is no stranger to Glam Gam!

Fishbowl Collective Presents: An Anti-War Art Pop-up

The Fishbowl Collective will be occupying a studio space in Griffintown and filling it with art of all kinds against war/militarism of any kind!

At 8:30, the space will be taken over by anti-war Pierrots in an hour-long version of Theatre Workshop’s Oh What a Lovely War!

From 9:30-11 the space will act as a showcase for local artists to show their work!

Local anti-war organizations will be tabling in the space.

Oh What A Lovely War's Theatrical Poster
Oh What A Lovely War’s Theatrical Poster

Using songs and documents of the period, Oh What a Lovely War! is an epic theatrical chronicle of the horrors of WWI as presented by a seaside pierrot troupe. It was collectively created by Theatre Workshop in 1963 under Joan Littlewood, and over 50 years later remains unique in its innovative satiric way of looking at the difficult subject of war and its futility. Its dismissal of sentimentality and its distinct anti-war-agit-prop flavour highlights the oppression of the working stiff turned common soldier and points to the absurdity involved in war.

141 Rue Ste Ann, Pay What You Can (All Proceeds go to Actions Réfugiés Montréal)

Pride Screening presented by Socialist Fightback!

Socialist Fightback is screening Pride (2014) at McGill University’s Shatner Building in Room 202 this Wednesday. Entrance is FREE, and a spirited discussion is sure to follow. Curious about what “Solidarity” means to the LGBT community? Check this movie out.

Pride offers an excellent example of solidarity along class lines. Between 1981-1984, the British government under Margaret Thatcher had closed around 20 mining pits and coal mining employment continued to fall. The miners’ strike of 1984-85 was a major industrial action to shut down the British coal industry in an attempt to prevent colliery closures.

Also victims of Thatcher’s bigotry and conservative policies, gays and lesbians came together to collect funds and sustain the miner’s strike. Although reluctant at first, the miners accepted the support from the LGSM.

Pride is a great demonstration of how class unity is the best and most effective way of fighting against all types of oppression.

Pride is screening in the Shatner Building Room 202 @ McGill University, November 9, 7pm, FREE


Is there an event that should be featured in Shows This Week? Maybe something FTB should cover, too? Let us know at We can’t be everywhere and can’t write about everything, but we do our best!

Thousands of people lined up on the McGill campus Wednesday night waiting hours for a chance to be part of a videoconference with Edward Snowden.

(No, not the guy from Wikileaks, that’s Julien Assange and the only thing they have in common is an outstanding warrant against them for leaking information that the American government wanted kept secret. Snowden revealed that the government agency he worked for, the NSA, was spying on ordinary people on a scale that is neither legitimate nor legal. Basically, he proved that the US and many other countries, including Canada, engaged in mass surveillance. This means the government collects things like your phone records, your videos, your internet data, regardless of whether you are suspected of criminal activity or not.)

You might have missed the videoconference because you were among the thousands of understandably irritated fans left outside after both auditoriums were filled. Maybe you decided to go home after almost getting trampled for the third time in the line-up. Maybe you stayed home to watch the Cubs win.

We can’t recreate for you the distinct Rock Show feel of the overexcited line of people randomly cheering and periodically lurching forward in a panic to get inside, nor the barely concealed distress of the moderator as the video entirely cut off after random people started joining the video call.

The event did not run smoothly by any stretch of the imagination. Less than half of the people who lined up got inside the building. The conference was more than an hour late and the organizers managed to make the Google hangout public, which let to technical difficulties of frankly comedic proportions.

The fact that AMUSE/PSAC, the association representing 1000 members of support staff (most of them also students) at McGill was on strike and picketing arguably didn’t help matters. They became the prime target of the people’s frustration.

However, Edward Snowden himself came to their defense. He encouraged the people present to “hear them out” and reminded the audience of how hard being a dissident could be.

Mishaps aside, the conference happened and Snowden managed to say a lot of interesting things during it. Here are a few of them.

“Surveillance technologies have outpaced democratic control.”

Mass surveillance was a lesser problem when it wasn’t so easy. Not so long ago, it took a whole team to track one person’s activity. Now it’s the opposite. One lone government official can easily track the activities of many people.

The safeguards against the abuse of this power have not developed as quickly. This means that Intelligence agencies have less accountability than ever, while their powers keep growing thanks to evolving technologies.

“This inverts the traditional dynamic of private citizens and public officials into this brave new world of private officials and public citizens.”

This, Snowden says, is perfectly illustrated by the recent revelations about the SPVM spying on Patrick Lagacé. It was revealed earlier this week that the SPVM and the SQ have put the La Presse reporter and at least six other journalists under surveillance in an effort to discover their confidential sources. Snowden called it a “radical attack on the operations of a free press” and “a threat to the traditional model of our democracy.”

But the actions were authorized by the court. For Snowden, this is a sign that the “law is beginning to fail as a guarantor of our rights.”

Intelligence officials have overtly admitted that they would interpret the word of the law as loosely as they could to fit their interests, regardless of the actual intent of the law. In practice, this translates to using anti-terrorist measures to spy on environmental activists or getting access to a journalist’s internet data through a bill meant to fight cyber-bullying.

 “How do we ensure that we can trust intelligence agencies and officials to operate the law fairly? The answer is we can’t.”

We can’t trust intelligence officials to respect the spirit of the law; in fact, we can’t even trust them to respect the law itself, argued Snowden. Intelligence gathering programs have broken the law more than once, he reminded, often without consequences.

“What we can do,” he continued, “is put processes in place to ensure that we don’t have to.” He believes the key of these processes is an independent judicial authority able to oversee intelligence gathering operations and prosecute them when needed.

Canada actually has the weakest intelligence oversight out of any major western country.”

Now they’re not the most aggressive,” he conceded, “they don’t have the largest scale, but…. no one is really watching.”

The powers of the Canadian Security Intelligence Agency (CSIS) have drastically increased in the last 15 years.  Law C-51, in particular, allows them to decide under any motive – however far-fetched – who constitutes a threat to national security and can thus be spied on. “The current Prime Minister did campaign to reform [C-51] and has failed to do so,” reminded Snowden.

The resources to oversee the CSIS, meanwhile, have decreased. The office of the Inspector General, which used to be a major part of it, was simply cut by Stephen Harper. This left the Security Intelligence Review Committee (SIRC) as the sole entity reporting to parliament on intelligence agencies. Its members are politically appointed.

CSIS is not the only intelligence gathering agency. The Canadian Border Security Agency, Global Affairs Canada and the National Defense Department all have the power to infringe on the rights of people, including the right to privacy, in certain circumstances and there is no credible authority overseeing them.

Retired Deputy Director of Foreign Intelligence Kurt Jensen pleaded for changing this situation in an article published last January. “Remember the old adage of who will watch the watchers? In Canada the answer is no one,” he wrote.

Since then, the government has started a process to review the oversight of intelligence gathering operations. Public hearings about the matter have started in September. Incidentally, this week, a judge ruled that the CSIS has been unwittingly conducting illegal mass surveillance since 2006.

The conference ended on an inspirational note, with Snowden addressing the students:

“We can have a very dark future or a very bright future but the ultimate determination of which fork in the road we take won’t be my decision, it won’t be the government decision, it will be your generation’s decision.”

Panelists Katie Nelson, Enzo Sabbagha and Jerry Gabriel discuss the feud between taxi drivers and Uber, the Canadian Parliament voting to condemn the BDS movement and Apple challenging the FBI. Plus the Community Calendar and Predictions!

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


Katie Nelson: Concordia student and frequent taxi passenger

Enzo Sabbagha: Concordia student and podcast technical assistant

Jerry Gabriel: Podcast regular and FTB contributor

* Uber v Taxi report by Hannah Besseau

Microphone image: Ernest Duffoo / Flickr Creative Commons

On September 24th McGill University published a press release stating they had become knowledgeable of a McGill Redmen football player being arrested and charged and that the student would be suspended from football until his court dealings were concluded, carefully citing that this suspension was simply in accordance with the University’s values and athletic standards. Speculation around the charge, which was not indicated by the University in its press release, quickly began circulating – but the quick response from McGill (the student had only been charged earlier that morning) and very public release led many to believe the charge was, as rumoured to be, domestic violence.

Only a few hours later reports confirmed that 22-year old Luis-Andres Guimont-Mota, a running back and all star football player for the Redmen, had assaulted his 21-year old girlfriend and would be facing arraignment in court the following day. It confirmed for many of us that the preemptive public statement was McGill’s attempt to remain out of the shade surrounding athletes and violence and a quick method of applying band-aids to hypothetical wounds if they didn’t act quickly. This all largely influenced by the Ray Rice scandal in the NFL where a running back who assaulted his fiance, knocking her unconscious on film, was only ejected from the league after that film became public.

Some people applauded McGill’s response to the crime. Within hours they developed a press statement, suspended a player and maintained a public image, but is it enough? I suppose we could have asked that question last year, when the same football player was charged with assault and McGill not only allowed him to remain on the team but to serve his 90-day jail sentence once a week, in order to continue his training. Or perhaps we could ask if it was enough when the university refused to discipline three Redmen football players in 2012 after they were charged with the sexual assault and rape of a Concordia student.

Although McGill learned from past mistakes and responded more confidently to the charge, one could speculate it was simply putting water on the embers of an already burning fire.

McGill’s history of dealing with violence, specifically by football players, has never been one to applaud. And with notable public pressure for major athletic institutions to take hardline positions against violent players, it is hard to believe that McGill will ban the football player upon a conviction and repeat offence.

Unfortunately, it isn’t only McGill who fails to set a standard of non-violence to its students. Universities in general are also part of a trend in failed discipline.

Last year, the University of Ottawa administration refused to take disciplinary action against three male students for the sexual harassment and violent comments toward another. More recently a student from Columbia has been petitioning a university for action after being raped by a fellow student, Columbia administration also refuses to take any notable action.

Taking clear positions and hard-line action against students who commit acts of violence contributes to a greater effort in addressing the larger concern of violence against women in general, more specifically in recent headlines: violence perpetuated by professional athletes.

Guimont-Mota was a well-recognized and rewarded Football player, but by failing to remove Guimont-Mota from the Redmen football team, McGill reintroduces to the CFL and NFL a new Ray Rice. It tells other players that not only can you get away with assault and continue to associate with our University, but you can get away with it twice, be sentenced to jail, break your probation and still make it for the fall season kick-off.

By not entirely banning athletes who have committed violent crimes, universities are not simply remaining apathetic to the question of violence itself but instead they are taking a position on the side of that violence.

Katie Larson, President of SSMU, in a recent interview with the McGill Tribune condescendingly accused students of ignorance. The Tribune quotes her as saying the students “did not do their part.” Katie Larson, and the SSMU executive, you did not do your part.

She’s cross because the students rejected a referendum for a student fee increase. The increase would pay for a recently negotiated lease for the student union building. This lease is the university’s upper administration’s way of meeting its budget targets.

Instead of  cutting their own opulence, the admin are trying to destroy the student union. McGill’s student politicians in the executive of the student union, or as I call them, SSMUcrats, have been extraordinarily weak to respond.

There are essentially two reasons why someone runs to become a student politician. The first reason is to represent students, advocate for them, and provide leadership to them. The second reason is to add some spice to a resume. If those SSMUcrats were truly involved for the first reason, they would not be chastising us for the student union’s eminent destruction because of the lease.

The lease itself is shrouded in mystery. The SSMUcrats must think the student body is pretty stupid, because they made no attempt to explain it while it was being negotiated and after it was negotiated. Insultingly, they expected the students to vote yes to everything they threw on the election referendum. Like a bunch of sheep.

But we are not sheep, and if we are, those SSMUcrats are not good herders. If SSMU is a democratic civil society organization, than like any democratic civil society organization, it is the leadership’s responsibility, if the leadership is responsible, to explain what is going on.

SSMU members pay the salaries of the SSMUcrats, they have a duty to inform us. But they don’t. Almost never. And now, with the lease, their culture of superiority and thinking the students are a bunch of idiots has backedfired.

Preceding SSMU executives were not much better. The lease has been an ongoing issue. Most civil society organizations, such as real labour unions, would set public demands in a negotiation, even if the negotiation was confidential. If the conditions are unjust, they might even run a public pressure campaign with clear demands, write letters, and cause a ruckus.

People might disagree about tactics, but no one can deny the presence. Even for the most unimportant contracts and issues, many civil society organizations would do this. But not SSMU, the executive clearly thinks its members can’t handle the information. This isn’t unimportant, this is a matter of existence. Nothing could be more important. This is life or death of the union. And they don’t think and didn’t think we’re worth the fight.

I used to be a Student Senator with SSMU during the years 2012 and 2013. I sat on the University’s Senate, and stood up for students the best I could. I fought against McGill’s support of the Asbestos industry, McGill’s support of Dr. Arthur Porter, and even fought for SEDE.

I remember when I heard about the lease, I was outraged. I spoke out against it at the Senate and wrote about it in the McGill Tribune. I tried and I tried, last year and this year, to convince other student politicians to do the same. To stand up for students. They could not be convinced. And when they could have spoken out, they cowered. It was confidential, they said. The lease negotiations were confidential, sure, but the issues were not. The demands didn’t have to be.

The SSMUcrats chose to be secretive. They chose not to advocate for us. The students who voted no to the referendum understood this much. If the SSMUcrats decide to care, they can still run a public campaign and put some pressure on those bullies up in James Administration (who don’t pay for their building or their lavish offices, funny how student unions and student services are not considered essential to running a university but fine wood decor and Group of Seven paintings are).

It becomes clearer with this line of logic that there are two possibilities. If the SSMUcrats do care for us, they must accept they messed up and apologize. They have no right to blame us for their mistakes. If they don’t apologize than it is clear: they don’t care about our clubs, they don’t care about our daycare, and they don’t care about the great things we’ve built together as a student society.

If they don’t apologize, they’re just in it for their resumes.

This past Thursday and Friday, a wide range of accomplished doers and thinkers gathered for the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada and the University of Alberta’s Petrocultures Conference. Presentations took many interesting turns, from Brenda Longfellows’ interactive documentary Offshore to Lynn Millers’ discussion of how to save oil-soaked birds. Most presenters focused on the current and future state of Canada’s energy-producing resources as well as on the cultural, social, political and economic implications of shifting toward a sustainable green economy.

PetroCultures (58)
Tzeporah Berman, the former co-director of Greenpeace International’s Global Climate and Energy Program, Executive Director and Co-founder of PowerUp Canada and Co-founder and Campaign Director of ForestEthics

For some, technology was advanced as the solution. Cenovus Energy, one of Canada’s “green” oil  companies sees technological solutions remedying the array of problems plaguing their industry, from reducing air-born pollutants to minimizing the impact of drilling by using helicopters to access remote wells.

For others, technology is no panacea. Darin Barney, Canada Research Chair in Technology & Citizenship at McGill instead sees politics as the arena where problems will be resolved. His talk focused on the prevailing discourse that  promotes oil-sands through a nationalist and especially a technological-nationalist discourse. Though this is viewed as a last resort strategy on the part of oil-advocates, appealing to nationalist sentiment nonetheless remains effective in quieting dissent and excluding alternative opinions by delegitimizing opponents as radicals and un-Canadian.

This nationalist veil also serves to mask the fact that, far from being a country-wide project benefiting all Canadians, it is the people who shoulder both the risks and costs while subsidies and profits flow directly into private coffers. Barney stated that while only 13% of oil reserves world-wide are privately owned, 51% of those are in Alberta.

Every year, oil industries benefit from over $1.4 billion in government subsidies. If you think this cash contributes to impressive job-creation stats you would be mistaken. Equiterre’s Steven Guilbeault stated that for every $1 million invested in the oil industry only 2 jobs are created, compared to 15 jobs in the green energy sector.

According to Tzeporah Berman, investing $1 million in any other sector yields more jobs than investing that same amount in Canada’s petroleum industry. Berman, a leading Canadian environmental activist, delivered one of the most memorable, informed and impassioned speeches reminding us that safety and health must trump the current trend of subsidies, production and pollution.  “We have a right to debate,” she said “and a right to the right debate.”

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Sun News’ Ezra Levant talking about “ethical oil” (image published over the objections of the author who thinks this man gets too much free publicity already)

Preceding Berman’s talk, Ezra Levant, our national court jester, appeared as his usual brash and boring self. While he was light on the reasoned argument front, he scored points nonetheless for giving the loudest speech (yet not loud enough to cover the audible derisive snickers from the audience). It was a wise decision on the part of the moderator to quash Levant’s question period; he was the only speaker to merit the distinction. Let’s give him another point for that too.

While Levant may have been the loudest, the students involved in Divest McGill were the most persistent. They came armed with relevant and hard-hitting questions, such as when Lily Schwarzbaum asked Gerald Butts, former President and CEO of WWF-Canada and current Trudeau advisor who also sits on McGill’s Board of Governors, why the university had not agreed to divest the $50 million it has invested in tar sands, fossil fuel and Quebec’s Plan Nord. He declined to answer, thus delivering a slap in the face to his fellow panellists and audience members who repeatedly called for more dialogue and openness throughout the conference.

Perhaps the most thought-provoking speech came from University of Alberta’s Imre Szeman who, echoing Mike Hulme’s Meet the Humanitiesadvocated for the inclusion of humanistic disciplines, the energy humanities, in discussing and solving the ongoing climate crisis. One of the main difficulties inherent in discussing pertrocultures is that we are all deeply imbedded in it; our daily lives are so dependant on energy that we have all become petro-subjects. Our identity and culture have developed in tandem with cheap available energy making it very difficult to untangle ourselves from that on which we have become so reliant. It has also made for easy targets; just think of when Al Gore was skewered because he would fly to speaking engagements.

The bright minds engaged in the energy humanities can help us conceptualize and move toward a viable “after-oil”  society that hard scientists, governments, and industries have been unable and unwilling to put forward. Part of the solution must involve the study of values, power, psychology, mobilities, meanings and institutions in order to finally get society to act on the mountain of facts about climate change it already possesses.

got land
Tenelle Starr ‘s controversial hoodie was one of the subjects discussed during Pretrocultures’ co-director, Sheena Wilson’s presentation

The Pertrocultures Conference may be perceived by some as a room full of white men, inherently conservative and exclusionary, and to some degree the accusation is warranted. Nonetheless, the conference brought together some of the smartest and most engaged players who both advocate for and act toward a cleaner and greener future. Hopefully new partnerships between allies were formed during this two-day event. Partnerships dedicated to bridging the chasm that currently exists between knowing and acting.

Perhaps the one line of thought all participants and attendees could agree on comes from Cenovus’ spokesperson: “The status quo is not acceptable.”

* photos by Jay Manafest, see the complete album on our Facebook Page

This week, the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada is partnering with the University of Alberta to host a two-day conference titled PetroCultures: Oil, Energy and Canada’s Future.

On Thursday and Friday, academics, industry, journalists and activists will gather to discuss and debate the social, cultural and political implications of Canada’s most controversial natural resource. Équiterre’s Steven Guilbeault will precede Sun New’s Ezra Levant while former Oilsands Developers Group Chair Ken Chapman will speak alongside lawyer Katherine Koostachin, specialist in Aboriginal, environmental and natural resource law.

The safety, health and environmental concerns surrounding the extraction and transportation of oil and gas has made for some bleak headlines these past few months. The Keystone XL pipeline project and the Lac Mégantic train disaster show the perils of having to move immense amounts of energy resources. Alberta’s landscape can attest to this and now we’re even talking about a Quebec petrol manifesto.

Conflicts over energy sources are of course not new; my generation grew up with wars being fought over the stuff. But with environmental disasters not only stemming from the production but also the use of fossil fuels, the repercussions go beyond our borders and are no longer a cause célèbre only for the left.

Navy Admiral Samuel J. Locklear III, one of the US’s top military officers, believes that climate change in the Asian-Pacific region poses the biggest long-term security threat to the area. Similarly, experts believe that sustained droughts exacerbated the underlying problems leading to Syria’s bloody civil-war.

Canada is not there yet, but our energy consumption and production habits are rightfully at the center of ongoing social debates.

Petrocultures 2014: Oil, Energy, and Canada’s Future runs Thursday and Friday at the McGill Faculty Club (3450 McTavish). For tickets and other information, see the Facebook event page or visit

The McGill Institute for the Study of Canada brought together a think tank of some of the most successful people in Canada for a two day conference entitled Lifting off and Flying High: Talent and Success in Canada. I have not see this much Canadian talent in a room since the premiere screening of Hard Core Logo.

I mean, it isn’t everyday you get to shake hands with the man who founded the Giller prize or meet the writer of Meatballs, or speak to the co-founder of Blackberry. But here I was, meeting the great Canadian success stories our little big country. We were making it on the world stage and this was proof, right?

Many of us who work in the very competitive fields that relate to the arts are trying to find a job and succeed in life but don’t know the steps that we have to take for that gold record, for recognition of any kind or that special combination of talent and luck that opens doors. These were a few of the question that lingered in my head as I walked into the conference room at the Omni Hotel. From what I absorbed over two days of panels and discussions, making it in Canada can be difficult and competitive, even though we possess a huge reserve of talent.

Panelists included some of the biggest names in Canadian film, music, television, sports and technology. They delved into questions of what makes a successful Canadian and how they can sustain their success?

Musicians were represented by many up and coming artist. Two in particular, Coeur de Pirate and Patrick Watson, are emerging in Quebec from lesser known underground status to “making it” in the world.

Coeur de Pirate questioned the possibility of making it in Quebec and mentioned how hard it was for her here before she made it in France. On the second day, during the Ladder to Success Panel, Watson spoke about how Quebec’s distinction creates a unique situation that breeds breaking with the conventions. This, he argues, leads to Quebec being a premier place to make music.

Laraque and Pound

The world of sports was represented at the conference by many big name figures like Richard Pound and Georges Laraque of Montreal Canadiens fame. Olympic athlete Jennifer Heil thought that we need to get better sports in school in order to enhance what we built with the Own the Podium program.

Does Canada have an adequate talent pool to meet the demands of the many encompassing technological fields? Has has Canada done enough to attract the talent needed from outside its borders? Technology panelists raised these questions and more at the conference.

A very lively Raj Khaan spoke about how Canada can move forward with technology: “There’s gotta be some investing and tax breaks. We have to help young innovative people build a business.” Meanwhile Sid Lee chairman Bertrand Cesvet’s speech was broken up by high octane and frenetic ad images focused on looking elsewhere for talent.

Canadian identity was a prominent topic as well. Headline speaker Jim Balsillie of BlackBerry fame argued that Canadian identity and innovation in Canada were being “stifled by lack of government involvement in intellectual property rights.”

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Filmmakers at the conference addressed the issue of how to best protect Canadian identity and culture in the world of cinema. High Cost of Living director Deborah Chow spoke about how difficult is in Canada to make Canadian films that are popular: “Sure you can make a film, it’s just getting people in the theatre that is the hard part.” While  many new filmmakers had the same view, the presence of Bon Cop/Bad Cop director Kevin Tierney reminded us that it is possible to make English-French crossover films that are successful domestically.

Len Bloom, screenwriter of many Hollywood hits spoke about the road that he took was not a straight path and that anyone getting involved in these type of fields ought to prepare for both many failures and many opportunities. Chow echoed this when she spoke of how being rejected by Concordia Film School opened doors for her to get into Columbia.

Jack Rabinovich, the man who started the Giller prize, also spoke of opening doors and said that he may have never intended to be a patron of the arts but that when the opportunity arose for him to start the literary prize, he took it.

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Tantoo Cardinal, one of the most famous Canadian native actresses and activists, talked about the difficulties being a minority actress and how easy it is to be typecast. Speaking on identity, she brought up the many issues facing this country’s native population and argued that Idle No More was an important step. “How will be find an identity in this country when we choose to ignore the founding nation of this country.”

The two day event was a success with two packed rooms both days. It was great to see that there was still a strong interest in Canadian culture, even though at times we don’t know exactly how to define ourselves as a nation. The conference was a bump to the morale of any person trying to make a success of their life and a great motivator for all the students in attendance.

* photos by Chris Zacchia except Georges Laraque/Richard Pound photo by Cedric Yarish