SNC-Lavalin Controversy

 
 

Trudeau’s fatal flaw?

Over the past few weeks, a significant scandal has emerged in Canadian politics. That scandal is the prosecution of SNC-Lavalin and the possible interference in it by the office of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Before approaching the scandal, a brief overview of SNC-Lavalin’s history is necessary.

Based in Montreal, SNC-Lavalin is a large construction and engineering firm which operates in many regions of the world. Within Canada, SNC-Lavalin employs roughly 9 000 people, globally that figure is closer to 50 000. The company has been and continues to be involved in major infrastructure projects in Canada.

Despite this, SNC-Lavalin’s reputation is not untarnished. Both within and outside of Canada, the company has been linked with many allegations of corruption in the past.

What brings SNC-Lavalin into the crosshairs of Canadian media as of late, is the company’s prosecution by Canada’s former Minister of Justice and Attorney General, Jody Wilson-Raybould.

The issue first came into the public sphere in early February, when the Globe and Mail reported that aides close to the Prime Minister tried to stop Wilson-Raybould’s prosecution and requested the company be given a “deferred prosecution agreement” instead. This is a relatively new avenue for dealing with corporate fraud, that was written into law in 2018 and it would allow SNC-Lavalin in this case to face fines rather than a trial. This would be preferable for the firm, as a conviction could result in a 10-year ban from bidding on government contracts.

Back in 2018, SNC-Lavalin was among the companies who lobbied for the deferred prosecution agreement to become law.

On Friday, the Federal Court rejected a bid by SNC-Lavalin that challenged prosecutors who insisted the company face trial over corruption charges which accuse the company of bribing Libyan officials between 2001 and 2011 in order to get contracts. The only hope for SNC-Lavalin to avoid trial now is to get the deferred prosecution agreement granted by the new Attorney General,    David Lametti, who replaced Wilson-Raybould following her demotion by Trudeau in January.

The true crux of the matter is the implication of Prime  Minister Trudeau and other top officials, which exploded onto the front pages of newspapers when Wilson-Raybould gave her testimony to the House of Commons Justice Committee on February 27, 2019.

In Wilson-Raybould’s testimony, she gave a detailed account of the many attempts by Trudeau and his top aides to dissuade her from pursuing prosecution against SNC-Lavalin. She has stated that she does not believe the actions of Trudeau or his aides to be illegal, but inappropriate.

Photo: Toronto Star

Photo: Toronto Star

Regardless of legality, the reputation of the Trudeau government has taken a significant hit. Political opponents are highlighting the stark contrast between Trudeau’s campaign speeches and his recent actions, with many calling into question his promise of a transparent government. Some have even questioned his claimed support of feminism following the testimony and resignation of Wilson-Raybould, and the resignation of Treasury Board President Jane Philpott.

The most outspoken critic has been Conservative leader, Andrew Scheer, who called for the Prime Minister to step down. The Guardian quotes Scheer, “He (Trudeau) can no longer, with a clear conscience, continue to lead this nation.”

SNC-Lavalin is viewed by many as the feather in the cap of Quebec. Of the company’s     9,000 Canadian employees, 3,400 are in Québec alone. This is important – the Liberals are leading in the polls in Québec – but they will require more seats in order to win the upcoming October election. If SNC-Lavalin is convicted and cuts jobs in Québec, it is possible that voters will hold Trudeau and the Liberals accountable.

Prime Minister Trudeau reflects his awareness of this crucial point by emphasizing that his pressures on Wilson-Raybould were based in his concern for Canadian jobs. His stance being that “our government will always focus on jobs and our economy,”  as reported in Chicago Tribune.

On March 7, Prime Minister Trudeau called a news conference in which he offered no apology but said that, “we considered she was still open to hearing different arguments, different approaches on what her decision could be. As we now learn ... that was not the case,” according to Reuters.Scheer called the speech “a completely phony act of fake sincerity” in the same article.

In addition to the resignations of two prominent female cabinet members, Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott, Trudeau’s closest political aide, Gerald Butts has also resigned.

With the federal election on the not-so-distant horizon, the SNC-Lavalin scandal may prove to be the fatal flaw in Trudeau’s governance.

 

HIV Patient in London Cured

 
 

Breakthrough leads to the second successful eradication of HIV from a patient

Researchers in London may have cured a man of HIV in the second documented case of prolonged HIV remission. The patient - called “the London patient” for confidentiality - was diagnosed with HIV in 2003, and began retroviral therapy in 2012; shortly thereafter, he was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Hodgkin’s lymphoma is often resistant to chemotherapy, necessitating a complete bone marrow transplant. The transplant procedure involves radiation therapy to destroy the patient’s cancerous immune cells, followed by the regeneration of the immune system from the bone marrow tissue of a compatible donor. The treatment is toxic, and     often fails to result in complete remission; however, for many, it is the last line of defence against a ruthless disease. Once the transplant was complete and the London  patient had recovered, they  appeared to be HIV free.

HIV infects the immune cells of the host, entering through receptors present on the cell surface. In the early 2000’s, researchers discovered that some individuals were resistant to the disease due to the presence of a mutation in the cell surface receptor CCR5. After further investigation, it was revealed that some strains of the viral subtype HIV-1 exploit the CCR5 receptor for cell entry; the mutation resulted in the production of defective     receptors, preventing the virus from entering the immune cells. Researchers hypothesized that this receptor may someday be useful for the  treatment of HIV.

Fast-forward a decade, and their idea for a treatment has finally come to fruition - albeit not in the way they imagined. In an article published in 2009, a team of researchers reported that they had driven HIV into remission via a bone marrow transplant. The research team were treating a patient with both leukaemia and HIV when they proposed treating both diseases with a bone marrow transplant from a donor with the CCR5 mutation. The recipient, dubbed “the Berlin patient,” underwent complete bone marrow irradiation followed by the mutated bone marrow transplant. It appears as though the CCR5 mutant  immune cells completely replaced the patient’s original cells, thereby conferring resistance to the disease. The patient has remained in both cancerous and HIV remission since treatment.

The treatment has been attempted multiple times since the original publication without success. Researchers in London recently published results indicating they had  successfully eradicated both diseases in a second patient  using a similar method to that which was performed on the Berlin patient. The London patient arrested antiretroviral therapy 16 months post-op and has been in confirmed HIV remission for the past 18 months.

The results of both studies have demonstrated that the elimination of HIV – once thought to be incurable – is indeed possible. The risks of treatment for otherwise healthy individuals, however, almost certainly outweighs the benefits. As mentioned, the irradiation of an HIV patient’s bone marrow is toxic. Successful destruction of all host immune cells is usually tough to achieve, and the risk of secondary infection post-irradiation is high. Additionally, finding a matching bone marrow donor is a difficult endeavour under the best of circumstances; locating a matching donor with a CCR5 mutation is exponentially more troublesome. Unfortunately, the combination of risk and donor match rarity likely relegates this treatment to the realm of experimental medicine, and nothing more. For those patients who are concurrently infected with HIV and a cancer necessitating bone marrow transplantation, this treatment may be an option; however, the availability of donors with a mutated CCR5 gene may inhibit widespread application across HIV and cancer patients. For other HIV  patients, until a viable cure is discovered that involves less risk than bone marrow transplantation, antiretroviral      therapy will likely remain the prescribed course of treatment. Antiretrovirals are effective, inducing nominal side effects in the majority of patients while reducing HIV in the blood to undetectable levels.

Although the London and Berlin patients are not the blinding beacon of hope that some media outlets have described, they are important actors in the conversation    surrounding HIV, and medicine in a broader sense. 

A cure is generally touted as the goal of most disease research. When the cure risks causing symptoms far more severe than the pharmaceutically treated disease, however, our conversation requires a  recalibration. Cures are a  reductionist’s dream, eliminating the need for treatment beyond initial delivery. When the cure exists on the precipice between the experimental and the extreme, however, careful consideration must be used in determining the appropriate trade-off between risk and reward.

 

Leanna Braid Interview

 
 

Owner of Pachamama talks nutrition

Leanna Braid was interviewed by Hannah Burrows on March 4, 2019. Braid is the owner of Pachamama, a chocolaterie, tea and espresso bar, & whole-food emporium, in Antigonish, Nova Scotia. Her business features specialty vegan food and drink, which  reflects respect for Pachamama (or Mother Earth), “a goddess revered by the indigenous people of the Andes for her ability to sustain life.” Braid makes her business decisions based on a strong ethical foundation that surrounds sustainability, both environmentally and socially. Through her passion for consumption of whole and plant-rich foods, she addresses the barriers that individuals face due to accessibility and the actions we can take on an  individual level to transform our relationship with food.

***

HB: What initially sparked your interest in consuming and promoting a vegan diet consisting of whole and plant-rich foods?

LB: I have been interested in food my whole life but became more interested in plant-based eating when I was pregnant with my daughter. It was also during this time that I began working on the vision that would eventually become Pachamama.

HB: Can you tell us about your journey of opening Pachamama and how you turned your personal interests and beliefs into a business?

LB: My journey to opening Pachamama is perhaps less  traditional than most business startups. Pachamama was borne out of both passion and necessity. After an almost 10-year career in environmental education and strategic planning with Parks Canada, I lost my “secure” government position during the large-scale downsizing that took place under Stephen Harper. At this time, I had put down some roots in Antigonish and realized that if I wanted to stay here, I would have to create my own job. I had been working on a business vision for some time that would combine my love of healthy food with my passion for sustainability and community.

Shortly after my daughter was born, my husband was badly injured and it became necessary to start the business. The timing was not ideal -  building a business from scratch and becoming a mother meant that life was extremely busy, stressful and exhausting. But it was also an exciting time.

I have always made decisions about my business based on a strong ethical foundation. Maximizing profits has never been at the core of Pachamama - I have built my own business model that incorporates and maintains a strong ethic of sustainability (environmentally and socially). To do this, I had to build my own supply chains because those available did not satisfy the ethical requirements I wanted in place. In essence, I have become my own supplier, distributor and retailer. This allows me to build relationships directly with growers and other suppliers, to maintain better pricing and to stand behind all the products that have become part of the Pachamama brand.

Photo: @pachamamafoods on Facebook

Photo: @pachamamafoods on Facebook

HB: How did you initially form the relationships that you now have with farmers that supply your business (both locally and worldwide)?

LB: Initially, this meant doing a lot of research, making a lot of phone calls, meeting face to face with local growers and organizations that support them. Countless hours were spent reading and researching supply lines and digging through layers of “middlemen” to find direct sources of products. In short, hard work, persistence and a dedication to thinking outside the box.

HB: What do you think is the biggest issue that the farming and food production world is facing at the moment?

LB: There is no simple answer to this question, in part because food production and the problems we currently face regarding food security are so interlinked with other large-scale problems such as climate change, globalization, the industrialization of food, the breakdown of community, etc. However, if I had to highlight one issue it would be the increasing fragility of our food system due to many of the factors mentioned above. Food security is declining as the impacts of long term food industrialization, societal disconnection from food, and availability of “empty” foods in the form of highly processed goods continue the rise.

HB: Studies have shown that exposure to poor quality food environments amplify individual risk factors for obesity such as low income, absence of transport, and poor cooking skills or knowledge. How can individuals combat these risk factors and find ways to purchase and consume more whole foods?

LB: This is a challenging question because it is impossible to answer without examining the reasons for these limiting factors: poverty, mental and physical illness, lack of food education, etc. In the current system of food production and distribution, the barriers to accessing whole foods are often  insurmountable. The existence of food deserts in urban areas, the astronomical cost of whole foods in northern/isolated  communities or the lack of publicly funded healthy food school programs are just a few examples of this.

I believe that it will take more than simply the actions of individuals to make change and combat these risk factors. More public education and funding regarding healthy eating and whole foods is needed so that some of these barriers can be removed, or at least reduced. The new Canada Food Guide is a step in the right direction and will hopefully begin to guide policy, programs and education. All schools should have gardens and teach the basics of growing and preparing food. Governments should tax           unhealthy/processed foods and subsidize whole foods and local food productions.

HB: Studies have revealed that there is a direct link between soil health and human health, and that the chemicals used in industrial agriculture are among the causes of modern illness. What is your take on this? Do you agree with this statement?

LB: I cannot articulate it better than Jane Goodall when she said, “Someday we shall look back on this dark era of agriculture and shake our heads. How could we have ever believed that it was a good idea to grow our food with poison?”

HB: Indigenous people see the Earth as something to be nurtured and nourished. How can we develop such empathy for the Earth and change our current relationship with it? Additionally, how may we inspire people to change the way we farm, eat, and think about food?

LB: I wish I had answers to these questions. In my opinion, it is difficult to foster this empathy without changing the capitalist system that currently dictates food production education, economy, etc. Until corporations and governments are held accountable for their actions and their impacts in the planet, it will be difficult to address these larger issues.

However, this does not mean we cannot take action on an individual level to transform our relationship with food. Choosing local and whole food options, when possible, is important but it’s also important not to judge those who are not able and to examine why this option has become a privilege and not a right. In terms of inspiring others, I try to live by the following: Make changes where possible, whether big or small; Take more time to prepare food from whole ingredients; Have gratitude for the food you eat and for the planet that produced it; Learn about how to grow your own food, even if it’s just one plant to start; Enjoy simple foods because nutritious, delicious food does not need to be complicated; Don’t be afraid to experiment with and try new whole foods; Resist the temptation to eat fast food, processed food, junk food etc., because your body will thank you; Whenever possible, vote with your dollar; Share your love of food with others; Resist judgements about the food choices of others, and instead, examine what might be the    reasons for their choices and decisions.

Remember that in the current system, there is no perfect way forward, only your ability to make the best choices you can based on the information to have. Strive to seek out this information and small changes will lead to changed habits.

HB: Charles Massy, a farmer and scientist, believes that if people ate truly nutrient-rich food out of healthy soil, the national health bill would be slashed right away. He claims that the big chemical companies and big food companies know exactly what they are   doing and, therefore, he sees this as a form of genocide. Do you agree with this statement?

LB: I completely agree that spending on public health would be greatly reduced if people had reasonable access to healthy, whole foods. I think large chemical and food companies, which are often connected to pharmaceutical companies, are driven by profit and greed and this leads to producing, processing and packaging food in the cheapest possible way to maximize shareholder profits. A convenient side effect, from the perspective of these companies is the consumer addiction that arises from eating foods packed with salt, sugar, preservatives, processed fats, etc. used to both cheapen the cost of the good and to increase the stability of foods for transportation and display on shelves.

 

Disabling Hearing Loss & Perpetuation of Poverty

 
 

What we can do to help

According to the World Health Organization, there are 466 million people worldwide living with disabling hearing loss. They estimate that by 2050, this number will be over 900 million. Currently among those with disabling hearing loss is 34 million children which is almost equal to the population of Canada. Most of these individuals are living in low and middle income countries where they lack access to basic health care. 

It is often highly preventable causes that result in childhood hearing loss. 60% of all cases in children are a result of preventable causes such as meningitis, measles, malaria, and untreated ear infections. The treatment of something as simple as an ear infection is often assumed to be highly manageable, especially to those of us living in high income countries. However, it is important we recognize the significant barriers that a lack of resources can have on treating simple illnesses, which can result in significant health issues in the child’s future. 

As a result of disabling hearing loss, children are often socially isolated and stigmatized within their communities and 90% of them do not attend school due to their inability to participate. Many cases of hearing loss go undiagnosed and are interpreted by families and community members as intellectual disabilities. As these children grow into adults, they are often uneducated due to their disability, and therefore less likely to receive employment, thus perpetuating the cycle of poverty and the subsequent health outcomes. 

 In Canada, there are many hearing aids that used to be worn by an individual that are no longer being used. For example, some people have upgraded to a newer hearing aid and discarded older models. Many do not know that they can repurpose their old hearing aids by donating them to someone in need. Instead, hearing aids often get put away on a shelf and forgotten about.  

The current production of hearing aids is meeting less than 10% of the global need for them. This is a problem that   affects individuals and communities around the world. While only meeting 10% of global need is a shockingly low amount, it is also important to mention that 80% of people who experience hearing loss are living in low and middle   income countries. Statistically, they are more likely to experience hearing loss, and they are highly unlikely to have resources to aid them. Another important thing to recognize is that disabling hearing loss in low  and middle income countries is not a result of neglect or carelessness of the individual or their family, but it is the social determinants of health – various social barriers to education, resources, etc. - that give rise to this health problem and many others. 

Hearing for All (www.hearingforall.ca) is an initiative that I, Emma Logan have started to address this problem by collecting hearing aids that are no longer being used and having them refurbished by partner organizations to be donated to those in need. By providing hearing aids and audiology care to communities in need, we can provide people the opportunity to attend school, get a job, and live a higher quality of life. This builds stronger economies and together we can work towards eliminating preventable hearing loss among children in developing countries. 

logo_hearingforall2018_copy-1.png

If you are an individual who wears hearing aids and have one (or more) at home that you do not wear anymore, please consider donating them to us. If you are an organization that sees a high volume of hearing aid users, please consider becoming a collection point   for us. 

We are writing this article to raise awareness on this topic in hopes that the conversation on disabling hearing loss and how it perpetuates poverty and can result in stigmatization becomes more prevalent in Canadian households. 

We understand that repurposing hearing aids is not the only solution to this problem, there are many complex issues that allow for this issue to  manifest in low and middle income countries in particular. So, we encourage you to join us in our mission as we take direct action toward eliminating    barriers to hearing health care for those in Canada and around the world and continue  researching and learning about how we can find solutions to this problem.   

 

“Show Them What Crazy Can Do”

 
 

Nike’s newest ad campaign sparks discussion

Nike’s most recent advertising campaign, “Dream Crazier,” provides commentary on the advances made for women’s sport in recent decades, and more importantly seeks for more. Building off of their “Dream Crazy” ads from September 2018 featuring Colin Kaepernick, Nike continues to take a stand with notable athletes who receive criticism from the media for actions taken in their sports. For “Dream Crazier,” Serena Williams is the highlight as she narrates the powerful message and is featured at the end of the ad. While Kaepernick’s controversial action of kneeling during the national anthem is widely known among fans of the NFL, Serena Williams had also recently been criticized for taking a stand against a call made on the court in the 2018 US Open final. By featuring such widely discussed athletes in their ads, Nike has the opportunity to share a strong message behind their products and image which fortifies them as a brand who supports strong values.

“Dream Crazy” supports the notion for athletes to dream of their success and to work towards that goal relentlessly. Highlighting both men and women—some able-bodied and some with disabilities, the ad encourages each athlete to challenge what others believe they can accomplish and to rise above. Building off the message shared by Kaepernick in “Dream Crazy” Nike shines a light on women in sport specifically and shares their powerful message through the voice of Serena Williams. By focusing on the harsh realities women face in sport, the message of “Dream Crazier” seems to be even more powerful than that shared in “Dream Crazy.”

The video begins by addressing some of the hypocrisies women face in sport that men do not. These include: being criticized for showing emotion, for getting mad at a call made by the ref, for wanting to play against the boys, and finally having their femininity questioned if they’re too good. This final example was the case of Caster Semenya, the South African championship runner. After addressing the hypocrisy the video goes on to highlight some historical events of women breaking barriers in sport that have led to where women’s sport currently stands. The take-home message seems to encourage women to continue to dream crazier and to raise women’s sport upward, for despite all the great advances made that the video highlights, there is still much more to be done to improve women’s sport.

The fines laid towards Serena Williams during the controversial 2018 US Open are but one of several examples of sexist and inequality in women’s sport. It proves that there is much yet to be done. The most prominent two issues I see in women’s sport are the discrepancies in pay between men and women athletes and the sexism women face in terms of their treatment compared to men in a given sport. Firstly, a female athlete gets paid enormously less than a male athlete. In a 2017 article, Forbes found that, “the top ten highest-paid female athletes last year together earned a combined $105 million” and that each of the top three men, Floyd Mayweather, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo made over that amount in the same year. These major discrepancies are mostly due to differences in sponsorship dollars. That money is driven by ad revenue and viewership, which women’s sport severely lacks. In a 2015 article from the USC News, Andrew Good writes that “in 2014, [Sportsnet] affiliates devoted only 3.2 percent of airtime to women’s sports, down from 5 percent in 1989.” With data like this, it is no wonder that the revenue from women’s sport is nowhere near their male counterparts.

In terms of sexism, there are two examples that come to mind; criticism towards women’s outfits in tennis and beach volleyball as well as the difference in the rules of hockey for men and women. In the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, a pair of beach volleyball players from Egypt; Doaa Elghobashy and Nada Meawad broke barriers for Muslim athletes as they adorned their hijabs during competition on the world’s stage. Not only did these women wear hijabs, their outfits covered their whole body, save for hands and eyes. This differs drastically from the typical bikini-clad athletes from other countries. Whether worn by choice or otherwise, the bikini outfits worn by women’s beach volleyball players are undoubtedly sexual for the sake of appearance, not performance. As Elgobashy went on to say to the Associated Press according to Alexandra Sims who writes for Independent, “I have worn the hijab for 10 years. It doesn’t keep me away from the things I love to do, and beach volleyball is one of them.” Elgobashy’s statement is a reminder that the outfit does not make the athlete, and that women should have the choice to wear whichever outfit style they like regardless of any external pressures for them to look a certain way (in those sports that do have standardized protective equipment). Yet another example of a woman facing criticism due to her outfit occurred with Serena Williams’ when she returned to tennis after giving birth. She chose to wear a  catsuit outfit, made in collaboration with Nike and inspired by the Oscar-winning movie Black Panther. The suit helped with blood circulation and the prevention of blood clots, which was a result of her recent childbirth, as told by Nicole Chavez for CNN. Not long after the match, the President of the French Tennis Federation implemented a dress code to the sport, despite allowing men to frequently remove their shirts in exchange for a clean one multiple times during a match. This is yet another example of unnecessary treatment of women from men who govern a sport.

Another similar dichotomy is in hockey, as for years, women’s hockey has been made to be non-contact compared to the celebrated physicality of men’s hockey. This decision seems to stem from the belief that women are somehow more fragile when compared to men, which is simply not true. While it is the case that men and women differ in size and strength physiologically, women are incredible athletes who excel in both non-contact and contact sports regardless of this difference. So why is it that the rules of a game must be changed to suit a different gender? When looking at the women’s sports teams on campus, arguably our most celebrated team is the X-Women Rugby team. Their consistent success over recent years has cemented our program as being one of the best in the country, in the very aggressive contact sport of rugby. It seems odd that for women’s hockey the rules are changed from their male counterparts simply due to gender and the belief that women may not be able to handle the physicality of contact hockey.

With such examples in mind and with the strong message shared by Nike, the question is how can women’s sport be improved and what must be done to get there? I believe that the main change that must be had is the exposure of women’s sport on the major sports broadcasts like TSN, Sportsnet, etc. The argument against increasing the media time of women’s sport is a simple one, the fact that viewership falters and ad revenue drops. The issue in this rebuttal though is that viewership will never increase if the coverage of women’s sport continues to be shown at a rate of 3.2 percent as discussed above. Because of this, girls likely don’t have the same kinds of role models in sports that boys do growing up, which may have strong implications on the levels of participation in sport for young girls. Having role models in sport that girls can relate to may inspire them to grow up and strive to be like the Serena Williams’ or Hayley Wickenheiser’s of the world just as boys look up to the Sydney Crosby’s and LeBron James’.

Nike’s “Dream Crazier” ad is but one of many steps forward that we must take to improve women’s sport. It is a journey that everyone involved in sport must take, from fans and players to coaches, advertisers, presidents and governing bodies. Improving women’s sport and eliminating the sexism and hypocrisy female athletes face will take many steps forward, and Nike’s ad may be the first step for some of us, as I know it is for myself. So, my question is this: are you prepared to dream crazier? I know I am.

 

Gun Policies in Schools

 
 

What can the Dartmouth High School incident teach us?

Lockdowns in high school usually are routine drills in which classes try to fend off boredom while following the instructions of staying away from windows and doors while being silent; but, a lockdown at  Dartmouth High School on February 20 wasn’t business as usual.

Dartmouth High School was put under lockdown for several hours after a 15-year-old boy threatened another student with a fake firearm. The boy eventually surrendered to the police and has been charged with assault with a weapon, threats, pointing a firearm and possession of a weapon. While the situation luckily resolved without injuries or harm to students, it does raise the question of what schools should be doing regarding firearms in schools, both real and fake.

First, it’s important to know that individuals at least 12 years old can acquire a minor’s firearms license, which allows them to borrow non-restricted firearms for purposes such as target shooting and hunting. Conditions can be applied to the license such as supervision when using firearms, and minors are not allowed to possess licenses that use restricted or prohibited firearms. It means that junior and high school students may possess firearms licenses and know how to use firearms, which schools might want to keep in mind while creating gun policies and assessing potential security threats.

It’s essential when formulating gun control policies in schools to consider the role of teachers and the administration during lockdowns. Teachers are already required to take on many roles when it comes to educating students, and protecting students in school shooting type scenarios is invariably going to add to their workload if they’re required to do additional training. There’s always the question of if teachers should be armed, although asking a teacher to shoot one of their students that poses a threat may not be realistic. At a minimum, teachers and the administration should be aware of how to put school policies around guns and lockdowns into effect to ensure the safety of their students.

The role of parents should also be considered when it comes to potential school shooting situations, given that they will most likely rush to schools to make sure that their children are safe. While guardians or parents are often required to pick up their children as a safety measure in those situations, they can also impede the ability of police to control the scene and get necessary resources. Even when parents are told to back off, the fact that students can communicate with their guardians using cellphones, like during the lockdown at Dartmouth High School, can help ease anxiety while lockdown situations are being resolved.

It’s important that police services react to security situations in schools involving firearms appropriately as well. Since school shooters often seek to do the most damage possible, it becomes more important to eliminate threats as quickly as possible instead of isolating buildings and waiting to negotiate. Those strategies, along with other lessons from situations like Columbine, have been incorporated into training for Halifax Regional Police, according to Staff Sgt. Mark MacDonald. Given that the huge police response to the incident at Dartmouth High School helped resolved it without injuries, the training seems to be paying off.

Fake firearms are becoming a bigger problem and have been involved in several lockdown incidents in schools across Canada, which gun policies should take into account. While fake firearms may not cause the same amount of harm as the real deal, they can still be used to coerce individuals. Not to mention, if 3D printers become more widespread, it may become very easy for schoolchildren to print fake or even functioning firearms. Luckily, Canadian law does take into account the dangers that imitation firearms present, which means those that use them to threaten others are charged with the same penalties as possessing an actual firearm.

Even in the bigger context, gun crimes are rising in Canada, especially involving handguns. In itself, this poses problems for schools if firearms are easier for students to acquire. What should be more worrying for schools is the fact that suicide was the leading cause of Canadian firearms deaths between 2000 to 2016. Students in schools like Dartmouth High School are in the middle of a stage in their lives where many changes are occurring that may cause instability or mental health issues, which can lead to suicide or school shooting situations. These factors should be considered when formulating gun policies in schools to ensure that the safety of their students is guaranteed.

Schools should draft gun policies that take into account the different parties involved in school shooting type situations and general firearm trends nationwide to ensure students are able to receive an education in a safe environment.

 

House Cup Rivalries On The Way Out

 
 

Has our social culture went too far too many times?

House rivalries are a staple of your StFX freshman experience. No matter where you live – even if you live off-campus – you will have, at the very least, a house cup rival. But the yearly residence hockey face offs are not where the rivalries end. The fact of the matter is that residence life is affected by drama between one another. For some houses, the drama isn’t a huge component. For the OC students, the rivalry ends at the hockey rink. For those of us who are living on campus and have lived through our first year in a typical StFX residence, let’s just say everyone knows about a story or two.

Living in Chillis for my first year, the stories I would hear about the Chillis/TNT rivalry felt kind of like legends the second years had to pass down. It was all word of mouth, obviously; nobody ever had evidence that some of the stuff happened. Usually it was related to the house cup. Stories about flooding residences and throwing chicken wings on our front lawn, classy. Although, the stories were pretty one-sided. I don’t recall hearing much about what Chillis did in retaliation, or the things we started. It was just another one of those things that made up the residence experience.

The Chillis and TNT, as I knew them, don’t really exist anymore. The decision to change University Ave into co-ed residences has changed a lot about incoming students’ experiences in those houses and is even creating problems with the annual house cup. It’s not just University Ave that has been going through changes, Burmac isn’t a thing anymore after one too many destructive games. Lane Hall is currently being used for professors and staff until it gets torn down in the near future. The classic StFX house rivalries as we know them are being quietly dismantled.

Is it a good thing, or a bad thing? I’d say it’s not really a black or white situation. On one hand, house cup rivalries can escalate into something that goes well beyond good old fun. A particularly scathing example is 2005’s Burmac rivalry, when misogynistic posters were spread on Burke’s female floors. This so-called “prank” led that year’s hockey game to be cancelled outright. CBC reported that, “a dead deer was put in the foyer of the Burke residence” a year prior. Honestly, it’s a miracle that it took until 2016 for Burmac to be cancelled; but on the other hand, house cups are something people looked forward to each year. Despite some of the out-of-control examples, plenty of house cups came and went without much of a problem. It brought residences together.

I think the key here is that StFX’s residence rivalries aren’t just relegated to hockey games. The year in your res may have felt like it led up to the house cup, but was that really what it was all about? Not really. House rivalries, and by extension residence traditions, are just how we keep the status quo on this campus. Categorizing each other into residences and taking on all the stereotypes (good and bad) that come with them. Based on my experiences, StFX is a bit unique compared to other Atlantic universities because your  residence sticks with you. The res you were in marks you among the X community and can even become a part of your Alumni identity. At University Ave, there’s a big “uppers” culture; people returning and hosting events for the res even after they graduate. When talking to a friend who goes to Mount Allison, she told me that her frosh residence did not impact her much at all; it was just somewhere she lived for one year. At X, it definitely does become a part of who you are, even if you aren’t extremely involved in residence life. They can give you a family, but residences can also be difficult to fit into and can promote unhealthy traditions. Traditions that absolutely seep into rivalries between different   residences.

StFX prides itself in residence life. Number one social university, but maybe it’s a good idea to tone it down a bit because rivalries become out of control and negatively impact everyone.

 

Sloan Sports Analytics Conference

 
 

Welcome to “Dorkapalooza!”

Over the first weekend of March, I had the amazing opportunity to attend the Sloan Sports Analytics Conference (SSAC) in Boston, Massachusetts. SSAC brings out all the best sport analytic companies, along with students and a plethora of esteemed individuals within the sports industry. A total of 3500 attended and it included 69 panels, six workshops and a live podcast  studio.

The first day kicked off with a panel on soccer analytics. Specifically, the speakers touched on the drastic differences between the American and European models of soccer. FC Barcelona Football School Technical Director Isaac Gutierrez mentioned that currently “American soccer is developed like the other sports in the USA, like football and basketball. This is not the right way to develop players, as Europeans schools teach systems from a young age.”

My personal favorite panel followed the soccer one. This one was on unicorn hunting. No, not the mythical being, but a mythlike basketball player. The term was coined after 7’3 forward Kristaps Porzingis was drafted. He provides an intriguing blend of three-point shooting and shot blocking ability, something virtually impossible with his size in prior eras. The panelists included former Celtic Paul Pierce, ESPN writer Zach Lowe, assistant Celtics GM Mike Zarren and Golden State Warriors Bob Myers. Myers coined a unicorn as “the highest level of rarity for a basketball player. Someone who stretches the limit of reality.” Shaquille O’Neal was brought up, in the pondering of if he was in today’s era of basketball, would he be as successful? The overwhelming answer was yes. Myers told a funny story about one day taking a client out for dinner the night of a game in which that player would be guarding Shaq. The player ordered an alcoholic drink, much to the surprise of Myers. “Haven’t you got a game tonight?” He asked. The player responded “I am up against Shaq man” as he shook his head. His utter brutality was another kind of unicorn, as most agreed that they would never see another player like him again.

Photo: Instagram @rachel_nichols

Photo: Instagram @rachel_nichols

Meek Mill along with 76ers Co-Owner and founder of Fanatics Michael Rubin sat down with ESPN host Rachel Nichols for a passionate conversation about prison reform. Mill spoke about his time within the criminal justice system and the need for its reformation. Rubin struck up an unlikely friendship with the rapper and was completely baffled by the treatment of individuals like Mill within the criminal system. They co-founded the REFORM Alliance, aimed at changing laws and policies. Rubin spoke candidly about his privilege, and utter disbelief on the criminal justice system now. Mill has been in the system for approximately half of his life, and he still has five more years to go for probation. The main way for this reform to take place was probation and simplifying the rules for it across all states. Right now, states like Pennsylvania have no limit to the amount of probation years that can be given. This can be crippling to people, especially those with limited financial means.

Later on in the day, the technical director for FIFA provided a case study on the utilization of compact defending, and its success within the World Cup that occurred last year. It seemed to show a new trend in soccer, where every team bunched up their defense, leaving a large amount of open space wide, but greatly reducing the ability for offensive players to cut inside, where there would be a higher percentage of goals potentially scored. It was an intriguing study, and one that was made possible with the dearth of statistics available from FIFA.

I then attended a discussion on the new team LAFC, and how its unique brand identity enabled them to create a phenomenal product in only its first year in the MLS.

I also was fascinated by the plethora of research papers that were on hand, including one that created a mathematical equation to value NBA draft picks and the protections that they come with.

Photo: Bowen Assman

Photo: Bowen Assman

The most popular panel of the weekend was a one-on-one with Commissioner Adam Silver and The Ringer founder Bill Simmons. The main talking points that was taken from the chat was the realization from Silver about the age of anxiety that all players live in. Despite the million dollars and all that it comes with, lies a very real mental health problem, mainly entrenched by mobile phones and social media. It was important that Silver addressed this, and he too said he goes to sleep most nights anxious and fretting about microscopic decisions that had happened throughout his day.

Day two was just as jam packed (shout out to 5-hour energy and the free coffee for keeping me awake!).

Malcolm Gladwell (author of 10 000 hours) sat down for a chat with David Epstein to discuss Epstein’s new book, called Range. Range focuses on the overvaluation of specialization, and the need for more generalists within society, as they have a higher chance of becoming more successful. Specifically, they talked about the Tiger Woods/Roger Federer dichotomy. Both are arguably the greatest players in their sport, but they each were trained drastically different at a young age. Woods began swinging a club at one and was primed to become a golf player before he could even speak. Federer, on the other hand, played soccer, badminton, basketball. It was only when he was in his mid-teens when he began specializing. Federer cited the reason for his great hand-eye coordination had to do with the myriad sports he participated in growing up. After Gladwell posited the question of why  Woods’ story is more enticing to people, Epstein believed that it was because of our obsession with precocity. For example, parents love to boast about their children’s early achievements. Having one read or be potty trained by a certain age brings about pride from the parents. However, these are closed skills, which would be attained regardless in your upbringing. Instead, Epstein believes in letting your child play as many sports as possible, so to have refined skills in various activities.

In the final panel of the weekend, author of Moneyball Michael Lewis spoke with Washington State head football coach Mike Leach. Leach has been called the most interesting man in football. It was a hilarious hour listening to Leach riff on his obsession with pirates, to literally bringing on a student from the stands to kick field goals for his team.

Photo: Bowen Assman

Photo: Bowen Assman

Many of the panels are available to be watched on the YouTube channel 42 Analytics.

Personally, Lowe gave some advice on distinguishing between podcasting and writing. “Writing is better, just because podcasting takes more infrastructure,” Lowe said. He also mentioned the importance to have an established presence before podcasting, “so people can trust you and know your voice.”

A main theme surrounding all panels had to do with the utilization of data. Since we are in a golden technology age, information is at our fingertips 24/7. As a result, we need to get the ‘why’ from the data and understand its importance. If one can do that, then as panelist and former MLB player Chris Capuano said, “with analytics, an average player can become so much better.”

I would recommend anyone who is interested in sports, analytics, numbers, or even just panels, to sign up for next years event. You get a large discount if you are a student, and it comes with perks, such as a integrated job board that provides employers with information on all delegates who attend. It is my hope that I will return soon to SSAC—not as a student, but as a professional!

 

Letter to Xaverian Community

On the passing of Kevin Fraser

Dear Xaverian Community,

I have often thought about what to say to all those who honoured Kevin. Ironically, it was very difficult to find words to describe the effect the outpouring of support had on our family, especially since Kevin was never at a loss for words.  Although our lives have been considerably altered, there is some solace in knowing the impact Kevin had on others during his time at StFX. During this challenging time, StFX has demonstrated that it is a community of care. The number of people who donated to Kevin’s Corner, sent us messages, wrote cards and supported us, made it clear how important he was to many of you. Receiving the honorary X-ring and attending the ceremony in Kevin’s honour was something I will always remember. Knowing that he was valued by others as much as we valued him brings us some peace. Kevin truly did live the values of StFX, integrity, dignity, truth, and respect for all. His connection to the community was obvious in the number of hearts he reached and the relationships he built with many of you. Kevin had no idea the influence he had on the lives of others, which truly does make him a Xaverian at heart. We wanted to take the time to thank all of you for recognizing Kevin, supporting us, and bringing us into the Xaverian family. We will be forever grateful and connected to the university. Most importantly we want to thank you for making his time at StFX something he loved, and for being his friends.

Quaecumque Sunt Vera,

Anne Armstrong

The Armstrong and Fraser families

Learning Lodge: Honouring Indigenous Women

 
 

Dr. Jane L. McMillan’s Anthropology class and sponsors welcome Indigenous leaders

People gathered in Immaculata auditorium on March 6, 2019 to attend a learning lodge from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. featuring five panelists who honoured Indigenous women. Outfitted with red dresses and ties, the auditorium was dressed to represent the absent women and men who are missing and murdered.

The evening began with a land acknowledgement and honour dance performed by Shiloh Pictou featuring the Kiju Boys on drum. The drum group from Paqtn’kek includes David Morris, Francis Julian, Cory Julian, Thomas Julian, Dustin Pictou, and Ozzy Clair. Pictou wore a radiant red regalia symbolic of healing and carried an eagle’s feather to honour and keep the creator close according to Terena Francis, coordinator of Indigenous Student Affairs at StFX.

Panelists Shane Bernard, Karen Bernard, Jennifer Cox, Devann Sylvester, and Kasha Young then recognized women who empowered them. The resiliency of speakers was inspirational as they shared their realities of coping with trauma and inter-generational trauma.

Photo: Yanik Gallie

Photo: Yanik Gallie

The photo above shows Sylvester holding a photograph of her grandmother who was murdered when her mother was a young child. Sylvester honoured both women in her life. Sylvester said, “As an Indigenous woman, mother, and student, it is an important duty for me to honour the Indigenous women in my life that supported me and became my role models. For whatever reason, society has devalued Indigenous women throughout history which has major consequences for us to thrive and be successful in today's world. I am aware that I am 3 times more likely to be a victim of violence or killed which makes me aware of my surroundings every day of my life. My grandmother Marie Ninnian Marshall was a victim of homicide shortly after my mothers birth, which robbed us of ever knowing her. My way of being resilient is to become successful in my education and future teaching career, to teach my 4 year old son to be a good man and respect all women in his life, to tell my grandmothers story, and to participate in events like these that focus on honouring Indigenous women. In Mi'kmaq history, our societies were matriarchal and based around respect for women because women are the creators of life. This needs to come back and be acknowledged, and the learning lodge did an amazing job acknowledging that respect. I am very proud to be a Mi'kmaq woman.”

Common threads of discussion among speakers were the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women inquiry and Moose Hide Campaign. In light of the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women inquiry final report scheduled for publication this April, Cox questioned the briefness of the inquiry leading her to doubt that it accounts for all missing women and children.

Panelists mentioned a shared concern for their own and their children’s wellbeing during everyday-life situations in Nova Scotia. Pauses during the speeches were most powerful as they personified the silenced voices of local missing and murdered Indigenous women and men.

Dr. Jane L. McMillan was host of the event sponsored by the department of Anthropology, Anthropology 234, Kerry Prosper, Indigenous Student Society and Indigenous Student Affairs. 

The question and answer period with panelists included some prepared questions from the Anthropology 234 students and spontaneous questions from the audience. A Guatemalan advocate and ally in the audience raised concern for the issue of missing and murdered Guatemalan children at this time. The woman referred to a recent case from Guatemala where a state-run home for women minors recently went up in flames claiming 41 of 56 lives. 

A takeaway from the event is the pervasiveness of the issue regarding missing and murdered women nationally and internationally. Listening to the first-hand struggles of colleagues and community members who are directly impacted by this issue was poignantly discomforting.

The Moose Hide Campaign is a movement of people standing up to end violence against women from coast to coast. Moose Hide Campaign adverts including leather or non-leather pins are available on the table outside The Xaverian Weekly newsroom by the StFX Store in Bloomfield Centre Room 111D for those interested in                     supporting the campaign.

 

Local Graffiti

 
 

Culture of art

DSC_0660.JPG
DSC_0655.JPG
 

Antigonish Craft Beer Festival 2019

 
 

Gathering of Atlantic brewers

Craft beer fans in Antigonish have something exciting to celebrate! Three local organizations – CACL Antigonish, Legion (Branch 59), and Festival Antigonish Summer Theatre – are collaborating in a unique partnership to co-host the inaugural Antigonish Craft Beer Festival on Saturday, March 30, 2019. This event, taking place at the recently opened Credit Union Social Enterprise Centre (75 St. Ninian St, Antigonish), will feature 12 top-notch craft breweries from across Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. Attendees will have a chance to sample their products, enjoy live entertainment, and take home a souvenir glass. The event will showcase the best of our region, celebrate the thriving local craft beer industry, and highlight our spirit of innovation. 

Confirmed brewers to date include:

The Townhouse - Antigonish

Half Cocked - Antigonish

Propeller Brewing - Halifax

9 Zero 2 - Antigonish

Big Spruce - Nyanza

Meander River - Newport

Maybee - Fredericton

Garrison Brewing - Halifax

Sober Island - Sheet Harbour

Upstreet - Dartmouth

Tatamagouche Brewing Co. – Tatamagouche

Off Track Brewing - Dartmouth

Tickets to the event are on sale now. Tickets are $40, with a special early bird price of $35 (available for a limited time only). VIP tickets are also available for $55, which include exclusive access to the event during the VIP hour and a selection of complimentary finger foods.

Tickets are available online at tickets.festivalantigonish.com,  or in-person at the CACL Cafe or the Legion lounge (75 St. Ninian Street, Antigonish).

The evening will begin with a VIP Hour at 6 p.m. General admission runs from 7:00 to 10:30 pm. Admission includes a souvenir beer glass and eight sample drinks from any vendors. Hot and cold food items, and additional drink tickets will also be available for purchase on site. Designated Driver tickets are also available for $10.

Organizers say this will be a premium, first-of-its-kind experience for the residents of Antigonish and surrounding areas and will draw media attention as well as business investments to the region. It will support local entrepreneurs, bolster Antigonish’s tourism and destination marketing, and provide a unique event with mass appeal across various demographics. They expect the event to sell out early so advance tickets are recommended.

All three hosting partners are well-respected non-profit organizations with deep roots in the local community and a strong national presence for their innovative work in social and cultural growth. Proceeds from the event will support these organizations in  furthering their work within the community.

Photo: Festival Antigonish

Photo: Festival Antigonish

 

This Is What A Feminist Looks Like

Looking back on International Women’s Week

Women’s week at StFX has come to end after a week of laughter, tears and solidarity and what a beautiful week it’s been to say in the least. 

I wish that I could have attended every single event that was put off this week, but alas it’s paper season in my fourth year and it’s not being too kind to me.

I started off the week by attending the screening of Dolores. Dolores centers on Dolores Huerta’s committed work to organize California farmworkers to form the UFW, in alliance with the Chicano Movement, the Civil Rights Movement, Gay liberation and US-based LGBTQ+ social movements, and the late 20th century women’s rights movement.

I have to say I am ashamed that I did not know who Huerta was before I watched this documentary. Huerta is a powerhouse of a woman and I can easily see that I have fallen in love with this woman. She stood up to sexist remarks that were snarled at her and found her way in a male dominated society. She changed the future for many Chicano farmworkers, improving their work conditions, and making them know that their concerns and voices are valid and heard. 

If you ever come across this documentary and have the chance to watch it, I encourage you to do so, you’ll also find yourself blinded by Huerta’s brilliance.

Then on Wednesday, March 6, I attended the Learning Lodge: Honouring Indigenous Women, which was a very powerful night. The panel consisted of Shane Bernard, Karen Bernard, Jennifer Cox, Devann Sylvester and Kaysha Young. Each of the panelists shared their own personal stories of what it means to them when it comes to honouring indigenous women and how we can continue to honour these women. Everyone brought something so unique and special, the audience held onto every word that was spoken. It was a privilege to be able to hear these their powerful voices.

Friday, March 8, marked international women’s day around the world and one of the celebrations that took place on this campus was a women’s march. It started off on the steps outside of the Coady International Institute, the honour song was sung out in the cold air by two Mi’kmaq women but their voices warmed the souls of everyone there. 

Rebecca Mesay and Naima Chowdhury also offered words of solidary before the rally began. The group took the streets of Antigonish cheering and chanting about women’s rights and the need for improvement. It was hopeful and encouraging when people in their cars  would honk their horns and smile at us.

Yet, something strange happened. When were out in the community of Antigonish I felt free, and a sense of safety and support from the rest of the community. The minute we stepped back onto campus I felt myself being scared, scared to cheer and I could feel the eyes of students passing us burning into my back.

And, it made me angry. I’m proud to be a feminist, I’m proud of my loud voice and I’m proud of standing up to injustices when I see them. And somehow, I find myself being afraid to be who I am on this campus.

Being a feminist on this campus is like walking around with a huge target on your back and it’s hard to ignore the stares, the judgment and the whispers.

But I won’t let the judgement of others hold me back, rather I’ll let it fuel me to keep on fighting the good fight. This was the last women’s week I’ll get to    experience at StFX and it          exceeded all my expectations.

Managing the Mundanity of March

 
 

Tips and tricks on combatting the lethargy before exam season

In managing the hierarchies of “hard times of the year,” people usually assume February is the worst time of the year. It has the fewest holidays, it comes right after New Year’s and all the holiday festivities, and the March Break is so far into the future that every day after February 1 is the real slough month. There is probably some truth to all of this, despite being the shortest month out of the year. However, it is not February that is the worst month, it is instead, March. This month we can’t decide whether its winter or spring, or both! 

At the end of February the snow was almost gone, it felt like spring was coming and then we got dumped on and we’re back under a crusty layer of snow & ice until the sun comes out in the next few days to partially melt it all down and reveal the gritty, gray, broken streets filled with potholes?

So, what do you do to combat how dumb March is?

One - Do yourself a favour and check out some of the amazing community artwork at StFX and in Antigonish. The art gallery in Bloomfield is always changing their artwork and you never know (unless you read their schedule) what they’ll bring next. Did you know that all the artwork found on campus is owned by the university? There’s also the new McNeil gallery in Schwartz. Why not check out both? Or even the town library.

Two - Get out of town, even for a little bit. Being in town while the snow melts on a grey day can really suck the life out of you. Getting just a little time outside of Antigonish there’s still wonderful picturesque landscapes that you can see or walk through. Sure, Mahoney’s beach at this time of year is probably chilly and bracing, but there’s lots of other places to check out. Point George has some lovely cliffs, Tatamagouche has a great brewery and a really eclectic antique store.

Three - Go to the library. The Pictou-Antigonish Regional Library is an incredible  resource and a great place to relax quietly for a couple hours. Plenty of comfortable seating, a quiet atmosphere, and lots of magazines to check out, all free of charge. Even better, your library card can be used online to check out ebooks if you really can’t leave the house but want something new to read.

Four - Try out something new such as learning a skill or  language. It doesn’t have to be something that you commit to for the rest of your life, but something you spend a little bit of time trying out and learning about. There are plenty of opportunities in Antigonish to explore knitting and stitching, language classes, art and other craft skills. All you need to do is show up and prepare to  participate.

Five - Perhaps you’ve bottomed out on PUBG or Fortnite and another shooter isn’t really your thing. Try some classic NES, SNES, Genesis, NeoGeo, and many other games through an emulator like OpenEmu for macOS. Your friends never shut up about how great Chrono Trigger was? Now is your chance. Maybe try a farming simulator, like Stardew Valley and get lost trying to maximize your yield by strategically placing sprinklers and scarecrows all while trying to woo the local cutie.

Six - Meet some friends for some board games. Everyone knows someone who owns a board game or two. Get some friends together and find out whom among your group is the competitive one while playing classic games like, Catan, Monopoly, or maybe some newer ones like Scythe or Exploding Kittens. Another option is heading over to Lost Realms, where they have a great variety of games from the simple and quick to the complex and time-consuming.

Regardless of what you do over March, try something different and out of the ordinary. For most people, it’s the routine that gets them and even though the routine disappears over the break, not having goals or plans in place makes the time slip away and can leave you feeling purposeless when you return to class. 

So, make sure to make a change, avoid the Netflix binge, book your week off with some new activities with friends, and be purposeful with your time.

 

“Villages”

The Xaverian Weekly gets second rights to publish from The Antigonish Review Poet Grow-Op

Some parents will tell you

it takes a village to raise a child. 

To teach her how to say please 

and thank you

how to apologize when

she’s done something wrong

and mean it

how to apologize when she hasn’t 

and sound like she means it.

They’ll tell you it takes a village 

to teach her how to add.

One plus one is two,

two plus two is four,

Girl plus life is beautiful,

and don’t you ever forget that.

They’ll tell you it takes a village 

to teach her to subtract  —

the bad from a good day, 

herself from a bad day,

the lies from the things 

they will try and tell her.

It takes a village to raise a child 

they say.

To teach her that good things 

come in threes,

but not to believe in superstitions 

and that her thoughts

are only worth a penny

if she doesn’t market them for more.

To teach her that the sky is blue, 

except sometimes it’s not  — 

and maybe not knowing is okay 

but she’ll ask anyway,

because it takes a village

to raise a child who asks questions, 

just like it takes a village

to raise a child who won’t.

But sometimes,

a village will fall apart  —

rooftops turning to dust

as walls fall down around her

and so sometimes

she’ll have to build her own. 

She’ll build lopsided skyscrapers 

with no stairs

out of the lego bricks she’s saved, 

then fill them with women

who bend themselves into ladders 

to help each other up.

Or, she’ll build long, low houses

with no roofs

so that she can imagine she’s flying 

when she lies down to sleep each night.

She will collect people 

like postage stamps 

and fill her lego houses 

with the ones that stick.

The red house on the corner

will be for the first boy

to ever take her out for coffee.

Next door, her first best friend,

and in her village you will find teachers  — 

the good ones

who taught her how to love herself

and how to make 5’2” look tall  —

but also those who told her not to speak, 

that her voice wasn’t worthy  —

because it was through rebellion

that she learned to shout.

Some parents will tell you

it takes a village to raise a child, 

but sometimes

the village you’re given

isn’t the one that you need.

Happy Nutrition Month!

 
 

A note from your sport nutrition interns

March is nationally recognized as Nutrition Month across Canada. Nutrition Month is a celebration of food and nutrition as well as celebrating dieticians and nutritional health professionals. As the only regulated nutrition professionals in Canada, Registered Dietitians are responsible for providing relevant, reliable and evidenced-based nutrition information. As the 2019 dietetic interns on campus, we are celebrating the impact health and nutrition has on our lives all month long with various events across campus and social media challenges.

This year’s theme for Nutrition Month is “Unlock the Potential of Food.” This theme allows us to embrace the role food plays in our lives and how we can utilize it in many different ways. There are five topics covered under this theme: the potential to fuel, potential to discover, potential to prevent, potential to heal, and potential to bring us together. These topics show the many different ways we can use food to enhance our lives, bodies and minds. We are posting each day on our social media, covering these topics more in depth. Check out our Facebook (StFX Student Athlete Nutrition) and Instagram (@stfxsportnutrition) to see our posts!

As the dietetic interns on campus this semester, we are taking on the role of promoting nutrition and health throughout March. We have a number of events and activities going on throughout the month that we hope brings people together in the celebration. We will be setting up booths in the Wellness Centre and Bloomfield, offering free snacks, fun activities and discussing more about the nutrition program on campus! We also have a number of giveaways planned, so please drop by and partake for a chance to win a prize. We are challenging students to use social media as an outlet to post photos of them “unlocking the potential of food” and hash-tagging #nutritionmonthatx.

Dietitians help Canadians unlock the potential of food to enhance lives, improve health, inspire children, fuel activities and bring people together. Wondering about the nutrition profession and how you can get involved? To become a Registered Dietitian in Canada you must complete an undergraduate degree in human nutrition and dietetics from a university program that has been accredited by the Partnership for Dietetic Education and Practice (PDEP). In addition to this, dietitians must also obtain supervised practical experience. From here you must successfully complete the Canadian Dietetic Registration Exam (CDRE).

The food and nutrition field is a wonderful career choice considering the ever-changing information and importance it plays in our society. With false information being promoted every day through media outlets as the most “credible advice”, we need Registered Dietitians in the field more than ever to help regulate what the public interprets as true. Many of the fad diet trends that are promoted to the public are not backed up with scientific evidence and could be harmful in the long run. This is why Registered Dietitians want to promote a healthy lifestyle, with room for enjoyment and new food experiences. Health is all encompassing, and we are here to help individuals and populations reach that.

It is important to keep in mind that everyone’s experience with food is different. There are countless factors that impact a person’s ability to access food, and how they are able to prepare and handle the food they have. 

During Nutrition Month we also want to bring attention to the fact that nutrition does not solely represent eating nutritionally. The social determinants of health play a large role in the ability for individuals to access healthy, safe, and affordable food. It is important as health professionals that we are not ignorant to this, and work with individuals and communities to receive better access to help achieve the main goal of health.

We hope to see you around campus and encourage you to join us in promoting Nutrition Month! Stay tuned on our social media to keep up to date with events going on in the coming weeks.

 

Closing Out The Year With Seniority

 
 

X-Men finish the regular season on a high note

The AUS playoffs around the corner and their position locked in, our X-Men, ready to end the regular season off strong were focused on their final encounter against UPEI. They would end up winning 95-80 and closed out their series with UPEI  2-0, finishing the regular season 7-13. All of the starters scored in double digits with Thomas Legallais (13pts, 11rbs), Azaro Roker (13pts, 10rbs), and Daniel Passley (23pts, 11rbs) all netting double-doubles. This was Passley’s eighth double-double of the season.

For the seniors of the team Passley, Tristen Ross, and Brandon Velocci this would mark their last time throwing on the blue and white jerseys at home. Senior Night began with Coach K giving a speech and framed photographs to the seniors as a token of appreciation for their four/five-year contribution to the program. Playing in their last home game., there was nostalgic memories of games won and lost that would last a lifetime. Seniors Passley and Ross had a few things to say. “I was definitely taking it all in, the memories of many achievements and shortcomings; being grateful for all of the lessons they taught me. I was real anxious and nervous to give the rookies a chance to taste the experience of AUS playoff basketball. I felt that as a captain and senior, I owed them that,” Passley stated. As for Ross, he shared similar sentiments preparing for the game. “Senior night was a celebration of all the time I had spent in that gym as a kid at X camp and my time here as a student. My Dad was in attendance that night which was special as he too played for Coach K, so really it was a celebration of that connection between us and Coach K. It was special.”

Ross returned after suffering a sprained AC joint in his right shoulder eight games earlier, making even the thought of shooting unbearable. He sadi he “spent the entire week in therapy just focusing on getting to play in my last game on Coach K court. Thankfully I was able to play with only some mild discomfort and credit goes out to our wonderful therapy staff here at school for helping me get there.”

Preceding the start of the game, our X-Men looked healthy and ready to play as they warmed up by throwing down some monstrous dunks, giving the fans a preview of what was to come. To start it off, the X-Men got the first points of the night to put them on the score board, already setting the pace for what was to be a high scoring game. From nice inside bounce passes to steals and two trips to the free throw line, the X-Men made it known that they meant business. They were spreading the floor, which allowed them to get into their sweet spots. However, they started to feel a little too comfortable by not closing out on the baseline and making lazy passes. They tried to shake it off with extra ball movement but found themselves idling on offence, forcing Coach K to call timeout. Legallais would shoot a floater in the last seconds of the quarter to beat the clock and put X up 17-11.

Shaking off the final minutes of the first quarter the X-men regained both offense and defense efficiency from the start of the game. Leading the way in the second quarter, the backcourt players forced a few steals essentially changing the pace from slow and controlled to a run- and- gun style basketball game that got everyone in the stands excited. Relentlessly pushing the ball and working it down low our X-Men compelled UPEI to take a time-out. Continuing the attack, Justin Andrew used his body to penetrate down low in the post for the and-one basket. Following that play Roker tried to catch a body with an attempted poster but was fouled. Four minutes left in the quarter a spark was lit under Jack MacAulay, a UPEI third-year guard who showed the X-Men that the game wasn’t over as he splashed heavily guarded  deep threes. This would be the X-Men’s highest scoring quarter with 30 points, ending the half 47-31 for the home team.

UPEI started the second half slow and were unable to get a flow going. With the X-Men’s cooperation and understanding of what needed to be done it was clear that the game was in their hands. Post-players Roker and Passley put in some work down low with Passley using his footworkto makr it look easy while Roker dunked on a player, getting redemption for his last attempt. UPEI then called timeout. The timeout was in vain as Ross scored two threes in a row and Andrew gave the fans a peak into his toolbag with a gorgeous euro-step for two. Nothing in the way of a W for the X-Men, it seemed the game was in the bag, until MacAulay scored back-to-back threes and added another one to end the quarter with X fans saying, “man can’t miss.” They would end the quarter up 73-61 with MacAulay finishing the night shooting 71% from the field and 77% from the three-point line.

In the final quarter UPEI was met with the same tougness by our X-Men. They showcased their versatility—with    the post-players setting screens for each other, popping out to the three-point line and Passley hitting a three. Roker’s athleticism was displayed with a rim-rattling dunk that left one young fan screaming, “it’s still shaking!” The game was getting more physical with players shoving and pulling jerseys. This led to Moshe Wadley of UPEI fouling out, putting Ross to the free throw-line and making both. Our X-Men saw the light at the end of the tunnel, and finished the game with a 95-80 victory.

Passley had a few last words for the X community. “I am very appreciative of the support from the community and everybody making me feel welcome here. Thank you to the fans, alumni and many other supporters who always made me feel upbeat no matter what. Win or lose, there was always love and support that I will always be thankful for.”

 

Xaverian Review Issue 2 Launch on March 14, 2019

Literary launch of chapbook featuring StFX artwork

On March 14, 2019 the Xaverian Review launches its second yearly edition. The chapbook is a showcase of art by StFX students, staff, faculty, and alumni.

The second-issue launch is scheduled to happen from six to nine this evening in Bloomfield Centre.. Featured performer Natashia Gushue, whose works are recently published in Xaverian Review issue 1 and The Xaverian Weekly issue 9 of volume 127, is scheduled for an appearance among artists and authors including professors Chris Fraser and Robert Zecker.

Xaverian Review was first published last year as the result of a two-year project brought to life through the efforts of Rachel Revoy, Savannah MacDonald, Sloane Ryan, Rebecca Charnock and Evan Curley who published a 40-page chapbook.

The executive member of this year’s team are Natalie Chicoine, Alexandrea Guye, and Jade Fulton. Chicoine and team are keeping the vision to allow creative mediums to be celebrated, to grow, and for collaborative multi-platformed opportunities to become facilitated this year.

“It’s been an honour to work with my best friends on this project. It was started by female students and continued by female students this year,” said Chicoine. The Xaverian Review executive members are strong-minded, smart, independent women who have powerful vision.

The publication, sponsored by the Students’ Union, is printed locally. Artworks published in the Xaverian Review include paintings, drawings, poems, short stories, photography, and other creative works.

Admission to the Xaverian Review issue 2 launch is gratis. This event is open to the public.

The Golden X Inn will be open until 1 a.m. for patrons who want service during the intermission scheduled for 7:30 p.m. and after the event.

Reflecting on her experience this year, Chicoine said, “I’m blessed. We’ve got so much support from everyone for a project still in its infancy.”

CFXU is in charge of sound engineering for the event happening in Bloomfield Café.

A limited amount of issue 1 and 2 copies will be available at the launch for free.