Comment

Graphic by Jondell Coombs

‘One man’s vulgarity is another man’s lyric’

If I told you there was a Twitter feud in November 2012, I doubt you would be surprised; Twitter has enough feuds to go around. However, the one I’m going to tell you about resulted in something unusual. This feud did not simply end with frustration, angry words, or hashtags. It ended in a courtroom.

The Twitter exchange between Toronto artist Gregory Alan Elliott and a group of feminist activists led by Stephanie Guthrie resulted in the arrest and charge of Elliott on two counts of criminal harassment. It wasn’t until three years later on Jan. 22, 2016 that a Toronto judge found Elliott not guilty. The judge’s decision is a resounding defense of freedom of speech.




Graphic by Jondell Coombs

Systemic racism, dispossession still with us

In a recent CBC interview, Howard Sapers, the Correctional Investigator of Canada, outlined some of the most recent statistics on prison populations and incarceration rates in Canada. They show dramatic increases in the number of Aboriginal people incarcerated in Canada, which can only be described as proof of the systemic racism inherent in our country’s judicial system.

25 per cent of the incarcerated population in federal correctional facilities are of Aboriginal ancestry. In the Prairie provinces, this rises to 48 per cent. When looking at Aboriginal women independently, over 36 per cent of women in Canadian prisons are of Aboriginal ancestry.

These numbers are staggering, but even more so when compared to the statistics from previous years. To put this into perspective, Aboriginal people made up 4.3 per cent of Canada’s population in 2011 (the year of the last census).


Graphic by Jondell Coombs

Louis 16 and Paris ’15

Jan. 21 marks the anniversary of one of the most important days in human history. The liberty that we enjoy on a daily basis made its transition from an idea to a reality on this day 223 years ago. It was the culmination of political, philosophical, physical, and mental turmoil resulting in an act by men and women who believed in the foundation of democracy. On Jan. 21, 1793, King Louis XVI was executed by guillotine. His head rolled no differently than the ones before it.

As we embark upon another year we can remember 2015 by celebrating our accomplishments, mourning our losses, and learning from our mistakes. To do so is intrinsic to our nature and integral to forming our motivations for the year to come. I thought it only fitting that my first piece written for the Manitoban be one of reflection. There are many events that have defined 2015, but for me there were no events more divisive or permanent than the terrorist attacks in France.


Graphic by Kelly Campbell

The systemic issues behind Drumpf’s following

By now Donald Trump has made himself well-known for his rampantly racist and controversial political platform and the questionable comments he has made on his path towards seeking a presidential nomination. Notable examples include his plan to build a wall along the Mexico-United States border to keep Mexicans from entering the U.S. illegally, his proposal to ban all Muslims from entering the U.S., and his plan to end gun-free zones at schools, amongst others.

Although the idea of these policies actually being implanted likely seems laughable to the majority of Canadians, within the U.S. there is sizable minority of voters who openly and strongly support them and who would like to see Trump become the next US president.


Graphic by Jondell Coombs

Brian Bowman: leader by default

Brian Bowman is 14 months into a job that he put himself forward as best candidate for. He was elected based not on demonstrated service to our city, but based on the kind of service he promised for the future. Simply put, Bowman was elected because he convinced the majority of voters that he was a leader.

The city does not need a mayor to continue functioning – it has a bloated bureaucracy and self-satisfied council for that. The streets will be cleared, the potholes filled, without any notable input from the mayors’ office. The mayor must be expected to do more than sign the paperwork by which the snow-clearers and pothole-fillers are paid. The mayor should be expected to provide leadership.


Graphic by Kelly Campbell

The need for a mandatory course in indigenous studies

Quite a bit of discussion has been happening about the prospect of introducing a mandatory indigenous studies course into university curriculums across Canada – including at the University of Manitoba.

Pressure to make an indigenous studies course mandatory stems from the historic Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) report. In this report, there are calls to action for Canada to implement in order to “redress the legacy of residential schools and advance the process of Canadian reconciliation.”


Graphic by Evan Tremblay

Tainted toilets

As a first-year student, university has been a place full of new experiences – some good and some bad. Although I am a mere University 1 student, I am not afraid to speak out about an issue I have with the University of Manitoba. The issue I have is one not often discussed in today’s world; nevertheless it is one that must be discussed.

I’m talking about automatic flushing toilets. Certainly created by Satan himself, a number two on one of these is worse than a post-exam hangover. As a human being, when I need to relieve myself, I go to the bathroom. And when I need to poop, I choose the nearest bathroom, simply out of convenience and sometimes, quite frankly, urgency.


Graphic by Bram Keast.

More on the STEM gender gap

In early November, I wrote an editorial about the gender gap in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields. The article was met with polarizing opinions concerning what I had written: some people really agreed with me and some people did not.

I think the only thing I really regret about that editorial is the last statement I made, which comes off as flippant and shouldn’t have been included. However, I do not back away from my initial statement about gender-focused initiatives.