Streeter: Is The Media Response to the “Terror Arrest” Inappropriate?

By Chris Gibson

“Is the media response to the “Terror Arrest” inappropriate?”

That’s what I asked a few members of the UPEI student body yesterday. As most of us know, courtesy of the local and national news coverage, a UPEI student was arrested on Tuesday on a peace bond for “intent to carry out a terrorist act”, though details of what he is accused of are not forthcoming.

The student’s name has been released, and The Guardian and CBC PEI reporters have been trying to track him down for comment, the former quite adamantly according to students close to the accused. The Guardian went so far as to publish a picture of his residence on the front page of yesterday’s edition. Is this going too far?

A few of the students I approached had not heard of the allegations, and quite a few declined to comment. However, here are three opinions on the subject from those who did respond.

“See, I haven’t had the chance to understand the entirety of the situation, but from what I gather so far, I feel that releasing private information to the public and really jumping on this as an overblown situation is a little too far.” –Cody McKay, 5th year History

“I don’t know the guy by any means, I don’t even know his name. I’m just hoping the media has the right information, that they’re not making false [assumptions]. He’s a chemistry student, right? He would be looking up that kinda stuff. I feel like they may have jumped the gun a little bit.” – Will McGuigan, 1st year Business

“I think it’s absolutely ridiculous. I think that the term ‘terrorist’ is thrown around a lot, especially since 9/11. Either we’re overusing that term…and it’s ridiculous to think that somebody who’s committing a terrorist act or thinking of committing a terrorist act was released on a $500 bail, which is the same bail if you, like, don’t go to court for whatever reason, that’s the bail that you get set at, too. It’s bullshit!” –Anonymous

In my opinion, I believe that attempting to interview a student while they are in class, as a reporter did according to unsubstantiated reports, is going too far. I also believe that publishing a picture of the student’s place of residence on the front page of a newspaper puts that student at risk for harassment or vigilante justice. Remember that this student is innocent until proven otherwise, and that it’s important to have all the information prior to making conclusions.

UPEI Curling Team Places Fourth at Nationals

image courtesy UPEI Athletics and Recreation

image courtesy UPEI Athletics and Recreation

By Ally Harris

The UPEI Curling team attended the 2015 CIS/Canadian Curling Championships at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario over the weekend and came home with a fourth place finish.

The team began day one of the championships with a 6-4 loss to Thompson Rivers University, but bounced back later in the day to take a 7-5 victory over Brock University and finish the day fifth out of the eight teams with a 1-1 record.

On day two, they opened up with an 8-6 loss to the hosts Wilfrid Laurier and then fell 8-6 to Guelph. They ended the day on a high note again, though, by beating Saint Mary’s 6-5. Their 2-3 record sat them sixth after two days.

On the third day of play, and the final chance for teams to advance to the medal round, the Panthers managed to sneak through. They dropped their first game 5-4 to the University of Alberta, but then came back in the next draw with an 8-7 win over St. FX. Their 3-4 record got them through to the medal round, sitting in the fourth and final place in the standings. They were the only AUS team to make it through, with Thompson Rivers, Alberta and Wilfrid Laurier joining them.

The opening game of day four was the Panthers’ semi-final match. It wasn’t kind to them, and they suffered a 10-1 loss to Thompson Rivers, who went 7-0 in the round robin.

They faced Wilfrid Laurier for the bronze medal later in the afternoon, falling 8-3 to finish in fourth place.

Thompson Rivers went on to play Alberta in the final, where Alberta pulled out a 7-6 win.

At the end of the weekend, the CIS awards were handed out and the all-stars were named. UPEI Lead Aleya Quilty took home the R.W. Pugh Fair Play & Sportsmanship Award, and Vice Jane DiCarlo was named to the women’s Second All-Canadian team.

Q93 Battle of the Bands at the Guild

image courtesy Evan Beatty

image courtesy Evan Beatty

By Rhyanne Beatty

It was a full house last Thursday night at the second semi-final round of the 2015 Q93 Battle of the Bands at the Guild.

Mindwaves, who commanded the second half of the evening, were the crowned winners in a landslide victory.

The sensual four-pack of handsome wolves radiated a kaleidoscope of experimental rock. Their well-crafted chaotic swirls had seated show-goers’ feet twitching and cores itching, as urges to groove were hard to subdue.

Many congratulations to the confident men who played a flawless and professional set, all the while humbly thanking Music PEI, the judges, the sponsors, and the audience for the opportunity to perform in the competition.

But it was Big Tilda, who performed first, who were the night’s true underdog heroes.

Jon Gallant, lead vocals and guitar, started the band’s set off alone on stage. His presence was the embodiment of a strapping young Robin Hood ready to lead the audience on a musical journey through the folk rock forest.

Jon was soon joined by his brother Mitch, on bass, and then Jeremy, on drums and later keys.

The fellows wittily adorned their stage with potted plants and brilliant red-orange curtains to frame the entire spectacle. At one point (as pictured), Jon took the performance to a new height, literally, by performing while standing on a wooden stool.

Keep an eye out, Charlottetown. These three brothers are wildly talented and supply enough unique energy and charisma to engage the attention of an audience 10x the size of that in attendance on Thursday night.

Other highlights of the night included a narrative involving a peanut butter and pickle sandwich from the Mindwaves, along with a tale of solo pre-dancing in the dressing chambers from Big Tilda. For any unsuspecting spectators in the audience that night, the entire show was a real treat.

Check out The Royal North vs Mindwaves in the final chapter of the 2015 Q93 Battle of the Bands this Thursday at 8pm at the Guild! Doors open at 7:30pm and admission is by donation.

Fair Vote Canada Gives Presentation at UPEI

By Taya Nabuurs

A panel discussion was held at McDougall Hall at UPEI on Saturday to discuss Proportional Representation, an electoral system in which the number of votes for a particular party is equal to the number of seats won by that party. Canada currently uses First-Past-the-Post, a form of plurality system in which the candidate with the majority of the votes wins the seat. The topic of discussion on this panel was centered around the benefits of using a Proportional Representation (PR) system over First-Past-the-Post (FPTP), and how such a system would be more beneficial to Islanders.

Hosted by Brenda Oslawsky, Vice President of the National Council for Fair Vote Canada, the discussion was held between Marie Burge (Chair, Cooper Institute), Hon. Norman H. Carruthers (Former Chief Justice for the Supreme Court of Canada), and Nouhad Mourad (PEI People’s Social Forum), with small speeches from all of our Island’s main party leaders, excluding Wade MacLauchlan.

The topic was introduced by Marie Burge, who began by speaking about the defeat of the 2005 plebiscite which sought to measure the desire of Islanders to move to a Mixed Member Proportional system. The plebiscite was defeated with 36% voting ‘yes’ for change and 64% voting ‘no’. Burge was adamant that although the plebiscite had been defeated, the people had not spoken.

Along with several others at the discussion, Burge believed that the major ‘no’ did not come from ordinary Islanders, but from the legislature. People soon became aware that the Progressive Conservatives were heavily involved in a misinformation campaign urging Islanders to vote against the plebiscite. Despite a survey that indicated that 85% of those surveyed intended to vote in the plebiscite, there was a mere 33% turnout. Concerned that the results of the plebiscite did not truly reflect the wishes of Islanders, but rather the wishes of the main parties in power who benefit from a FPTP system, Burge has dedicated herself to bringing accurate and useful information to Islanders about the benefits of a PR system.

graphic courtesy Brenda Oslawsky

graphic courtesy Brenda Oslawsky

Brenda Oslawsky, vice-president of Fair Vote Canada, took to the podium next to share her presentation on PR. She spoke first of Fair Vote Canada and its work as a grassroots multi-partisan citizen campaign seeking electoral reform in the Canadian voting system. Oslawsky explained that in a PR system, a party that receives 40% of votes, receives 40% of seats in the legislature. This means that smaller parties will get better representation in Parliament. FPTP creates disproportionate results in which Islanders who don’t support the popular parties are casting ineffective or “wasted” votes.

graphic courtesy Brenda Oslawsky

graphic courtesy Brenda Oslawsky

Citizens who don’t see their votes as being represented in the electoral outcomes are much less likely to vote in subsequent elections, and so FPTP systems often see much lower rates of voter turnout than PR systems. The statistics have shown that PR results in better voter turnout and more women and ethnic minorities elected to office than the FPTP system. PR promotes better cooperation and collaboration amongst political parties because parties are required to work together to make decisions. Oslawsky urged those interested in getting involved in PR advocacy to sign the Declaration of Voter’s Rights set out by Fair Vote Canada and to only vote for those candidates who support PR.

The Honourable Norman Carruthers, retired Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, took to the podium to discuss his involvement as the head of the 2003 PEI Commission on Electoral Reform. Carruthers was appointed with the task of consulting with Islanders and compiling a report on electoral reform, which was presented to former Premier Pat Binns in December of 2003. The question chosen for the plebiscite asked Islanders whether or not they would be interested in changing Prince Edward Island’s current system to that of a Mixed Member Proportional Representation (MMPR) system. MMPR involves a two-step voting system which preserves the relevance of geographical constituencies without creating a system that fosters the representation of only the two leading parties.

Carruthers then discussed one of the evident disadvantages of FPTP: the underrepresentation of women, youth, and other minorities. Carruthers emphasized that in a “winner-take-all system, women take very little.” His point was emphasized by the next speaker, Nouhod Mourad of the People’s Social Forum, who explained that in a study of 36 different democracies examined over 29 years, countries with PR systems showed an average of 8% more women in parliament. Similarly to how FPTP systems make it very difficult for smaller parties to gain representation in the legislature, women are faced with the same issue. “To me this is not reflective of women’s rights,” stated Mourad.

The discussion was then opened up to the crowd for questions and comments, and after some intelligent remarks from the general public, leaders of the Green Party, the NDP, and the Progressive Conservatives provided their own comments on the subject. Peter Bevan-Baker was adamant that the Green Party of PEI was fully in support of PR, while NDP leader Mike Redmond also declared the NDP as proud supporters of PR. Redmond stated his frustrations with the misinformation and fear-mongering surrounding the 2003-2005 campaign for electoral reform and emphasized the need for better representation of Prince Edward Island’s minorities if we wish to achieve a truly democratic system.

While the Progressive Conservatives have been uninterested in bringing proportional representation to PEI, Rob Lantz took the opportunity to speak at the panel discussion to announce that a PC government would institute reform to the structure of legislative standing committees to allow representatives from registered political parties to sit on these committees.

Lantz stated that this would allow all parties to “fully engage in the process.” While his announcement is seen as a step in the right direction, many were critical. Deputy Leader of the Green Party of PEI, Darcie Lanthier, was highly critical of the PC leader’s announcement, accusing Lantz of “hi-jacking” the event.

“This new plan may be calculated to remove our rights to present to the Standing Committees and was done completely arbitrarily without consulting the parties in question,” she stated in a Facebook post following the event.

For more information on Proportional Representation and how you can get involved in advocating for electoral reform, you can visit the Fair Vote Canada website at fairvote.ca.

Opinion: PEI and the Problem with Ending Patronage

By Anonymous

Recently, there was a big shakeup in the Prince Edward Island political landscape as the second major scandal of the Ghiz government broke on the day of the PC leadership convention. In order to give credit where credit is due, the local media have already covered this story. This article, however, isn’t about the controversial e-gaming scandal or the PNP scandal that happened just before the last provincial election, but rather about a regular trend in Prince Edward Island politics: patronage.

Every time there is a scandal of any sort in the government in this province, you get the opposition parties saying “we need to end patronage!” or “we need to end corruption in the government!” The public is torn between outrage over the continued government mishandling or simply not caring anymore. Does the idea of ending patronage sound great and uplifting? Yes, it does. However, like most ideas in politics that fit this description, there is always a downside, one that should be considered before we commit to ending patronage.

Webster’s Canadian Dictionary describes patronage (in a political context) as: “the control by officials of giving out jobs, contracts, or favors.” So there is the possibility that if you are friends or family of this Liberal government, you may have benefited at some point or another. That may or may not be inappropriate, but that’s not what I am trying to prove here.

Prince Edward Island is Canada’s smallest province in size and population with roughly 140,000 residents. It has the highest population density in Canada and many of the families that live here have lived here for a very long time. This is a place where the traditional six degrees of separation is narrowed down to two degrees, and you can’t get on a bus without hearing someone talking with another person in one of those much loved “who’s yer fadder?” conversations. Now, given the small population, can we truly end patronage? I personally don’t think so.

Let’s consider the two degrees of separation on Prince Edward Island and put it in the context of people looking for a government job. If we have 10 people applying for a job, there is likely to be someone who knows a Director, or a Deputy Minister, or a Minister personally. If that applicant knows the person who is the head of that department, and they get hired, one could say that was an act of patronage. However, what if the person who is being hired under what could be called an act of patronage was the best person for the job, and that is why they got hired?

The problem with ending patronage on Prince Edward Island is that it would be culturally impossible unless we want to set up a system of discrimination against the friends and families of those who have found political success. In this province, that is the majority of the population.

It may sound catchy to the media for the leader of an opposition party to stand up and say “If you elect me and my party to government, we will end patronage,” but my first question to them would be: how are you going to end patronage?

There is no system of patronage on Prince Edward Island that can simply be re-assessed, changed, and forever eliminated. It is a product of our culture, our geography, and our demographics. Every job handed out, every contract signed, and every government favor on PEI could be traced back by saying “well this person, knows this person, who knows this minister, therefore they got the job” or directly, “this person is a friend or family member of a Deputy Minister, so they got the job.”

In a province where there are two degrees of separation and “everyone knows everyone”, every single thing the government does could be called an act of patronage. This has happened under the Liberals, it has happened under the Progressive Conservatives, and it would happen under a New Democratic or Green government as well. It isn’t the parties’ fault; it is just a by-product of the place we live.

Ending patronage isn’t a reality for PEI, unless we want to discriminate against the individuals in our province who are connected to someone who found political success. If there’s anything I know from growing up in this province, that’s not how we do things here. We help our neighbors, we don’t condemn them.

Theology on Tap: The Age of Francis

By Drew MacEachern

The latest installment of the Theology on Tap series, “The Age of Francis”, was presented yesterday at the Pourhouse by Dr. Rob Dennis, the President of the Canadian Catholic Historical Association and Director of the Catholic Studies Department at UPEI.

Dr. Dennis began the presentation with the story of how he heard about Pope Benedict’s resignation; at breakfast while checking his email before teaching a class at Queen’s University. Pope Benedict’s resignation created a wave of discussion and debate in the media, in which Dr. Dennis took part, culminating in the election of Jose Bergoglio as Pope Francis on the second day of the Vatican conclave.

Dr. Denis noted that in the two years since then, Pope Francis has become a major cultural icon for Catholics and non-Catholics alike, even appearing on the cover of Rolling Stone. Denis used this fact to jumpstart a discussion on why and how Francis became such a cultural icon in such a short time.

To start with, Francis started his papacy by choosing his name in honour of St. Francis of Assisi. Denis argued that by examining the central messages of St. Francis of Assisi’s life, particularly the lived experience of poverty and the rejection of privilege, one can understand the emphasis Francis planned on addressing in his Papacy. As well, Francis of Assisi stressed the relationship between spirituality and a care for nature. Interestingly, many note that Pope Francis is expected to release an encyclical this summary extolling the virtues of economic stewardship.

Francis of Assisi’s message was encapsulated by his phrase “preach the gospel at all times and when necessary use words”. By tapping into this message, Pope Francis is attempting to re-emphasize the traditional Christian emphasis on charity and reaching out to the downtrodden. Poverty, to Francis, exists in both an economic form rooted in unjust structure and a social poverty of exclusion. This results in a rejection of “trickle-down economics”. At that point in his talk, Dr. Denis enthusiastically noted that he wished he had slides so he could show a slide of Pope Francis wrestling the free-market Nobel Laureate economist Milton Friedman.

However, it is Pope Francis’ focus on a poverty of exclusion that really seems to be a major influence in his popularity. Francis has focused on the homeless, refugees, prostitutes, indigenous people, and other people that have been excluded from society; an inclusive stance that brings the message of Christianity to the forefront while being attractive to Catholics and non-Catholics alike.

Pope Francis has reinforced these statements with specific actions. For example, there is a tradition of washing the feet of the downtrodden, in imitation of Jesus, on Thursdays. Traditionally Popes have washed the feet of 12 men, representing the Apostles. In his first time doing this, the Pope visited a youth detention centre where he expanded on this tradition of healing by washing the feet of both non-Muslims and women. He also rejected the luxury cars and extravagant clothes traditionally associated with the Papacy, as well as sharply criticizing many of the priests and cardinals in Rome for their lifestyles and work habits. This position is one that is not just anti-materialistic, but one that tries to elevate human relationships to the core of social ethics.

Francis is the first post-Vatican II pontiff, the first Pope to become a priest after the major reforms of Vatican II. In this, Francis is not so much presenting a new message, but refashioning the traditional forms of Christian ethics in a simple and modern fashion.

To emphasize this, Dr. Denis told a story from Pope Francis’ election. Cardinal Christoph Schonborn, the Archbishop of Vienna, was watching Francis give his first speech with Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the Archbishop of New York. Cardinal Schonborn, with a tear in his eye, turned to Cardinal Dolan and said, “He speaks as Christ does”. Cardinal Dolan said in reply, “Chris, I’m pretty sure that’s the job description.”

Island Author Spotlight: Jillianne Hamilton

image courtesy Jillianne Hamilton

image courtesy Jillianne Hamilton

By Vanessa Chew

Graphic designer by day, passionate reader and accomplished writer by night, Jillianne Hamilton is a promising young Island author. Over the past two years, she has been working on Molly Miranda: Thief for Hire, an action/comedy chick lit novel, and now the book is on the shelves.

According to Hamilton, Molly is a “professional, experienced contract burglar. It’s not exactly something you can put on a business card”. The story is about a prosperous young woman who is trying her best to keep things under control as she attempts to keep a large part of her identity—her occupation of thievery—under wraps. 

Recently, I had the opportunity to talk with Hamilton about the process of publishing her novel and how she invented the endearing and exciting character Molly Miranda.

Hamilton’s mother said that Jillianne started writing stories before she knew how to write. In fact, when she was in junior high, she pumped out a 30 page short story every month and gave them to a very supportive English teacher. “I took every writing-related class I could in high school and wrote for the school newspaper,” Hamilton said.

When asked why she writes, Hamilton said the following.

“I love stories. I love books and movies. I’m grateful to be living in the Golden Age of television. I’ve always loved making up stories and characters.”

Even though Hamilton studied Interactive Multimedia at Holland College and landed a job as a graphic designer, story ideas kept nagging at her brain. But balancing a full-time career with writing and publishing books is a daunting task. Hamilton admits that when she is in the midst of a good writing session, she ends up losing sleep.

“When I was preparing to publish, it was honestly like having two full-time jobs simultaneously. Arranging publicity and doing marketing stuff and making sure everything was in order was exhausting.”

When asked about which writers she admires most and why, Hamilton responded, “Meg Cabot, and Louise Rennison are incredibly talented, funny women who taught me that not only can books be funny, but that books by and for women can be funny, too.”

In terms of publishing and why she chose to go the independent route, Hamilton said that getting published by a traditional publishing house is almost impossible. For debut authors, there is about a 0.2% chance of getting published.

“Thankfully, we live in an age where indie musicians and filmmakers are raising the money themselves and creating their own projects for the public. Writers have that option too.”

Hamilton saved up as much as she could on her own and then raised $1600 via an Indiegogo campaign last fall. The funds went towards a developmental editor, a copyeditor, and a proofreader.

These investments were necessary, Hamilton said, in order to produce a professional product. But Hamilton’s background in graphic design did help her immensely with the creation of the book.

“I designed the cover and book jacket myself—I wouldn’t usually recommend indie writers design their own covers but I’ve been a graphic designer for almost four years so I felt confident in my abilities. But for every nice cover design out there, there are twenty terrible ones.”

I asked Hamilton to provide a few tips for young writers looking to publish independently.

“First, focus on writing the book. Make it the best you can. Second, indie publishing is not for everyone. It is a lot of work and can be expensive. But you get to be your own boss. Big publishing companies are infamous for changing the original vision of the author. They also pay the author a tiny slice of the profit.

“And finally, if you are turned down by publishers and think, ‘I don’t really want to self-publish, but I guess it’s the only way,’ then you are probably not ready. Publishing your own book is exciting and you should be excited about it! Otherwise, you will be exhausted doing something you hate. If you’re not ready to become your own publisher, keep working on your craft and keep submitting to traditional publishers instead.”

Hamilton also studied Journalism at Holland College, and due to the differences between journalistic writing and creative writing, Hamilton initially experienced some difficulties in bringing Molly Miranda to life.

“My editor had to retrain me a little bit to go deeper into some of my descriptions. What is she wearing? What does her bedroom look like? I left these things out originally because I kept thinking it doesn’t matter to the story and nobody cares what she’s wearing. But these details are important to show readers what kind of person she is without actually coming out and saying it. Describing those smaller details is an easy way to show rather than tell.”

Hamilton said that her favorite quality of Molly’s is her bravery. “She climbs down the sides of mansions without a second thought. I like that she’s a criminal but would never intentionally hurt anyone physically. She’s not quite a thief with a heart of gold, but she’s generally a good person.”

In the end, Hamilton said that “the theme of the book, in its simplest form, is to be yourself.”

In terms of her future plans, Hamilton said she would “love to write a few more books featuring Molly and her adventures. I’ll do five and a prequel novella.”

Molly Miranda: Thief for Hire is available at The Bookmark in Charlottetown, on Amazon (paperback and ebook), Kobo, iBooks, and on Jillianne’s website.

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