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University District

Approximately 200 demonstrators attended Friday’s Idle No More rally.
Approximately 200 demonstrators attended Friday’s Idle No More rally.
Photo: 
The vandalism of the statue fell on the 138th birthday of Canada’s first prime minister.
The vandalism of the statue fell on the 138th birthday of Canada’s first prime minister.

Idle No More rally draws large crowd

The Idle No More movement arrived on campus last Friday with a rally outside of Stauffer library.

The demonstration began at noon and lasted for about an hour, and at its peak it numbered around 200 attendees and curious onlookers. The rally involved banners, placards and flags as well as drums that were used for a round dance.

Liberal MP Ted Hsu and former Green Party MPP candidate Robert Kiley made brief appearances.

The Idle No More movement began in Saskatchewan over concerns regarding Bill C-45, which was passed through parliament and received Royal Assent into law Dec. 14.

Bill C-45 is now titled “Jobs and Growth Act, 2012” and the Idle No More movement criticizes certain legislation in the bill that affects environmental protections and First Nations groups around the country.

“I think what’s happening here is that Canadians are waking up to the fact that there are Canadians living here with third-world conditions in a supposedly first-world country and that needs to be rectified,” attendee Renata Colwell, ArtSci ’13, said.

Notably, the Indian Act, Navigation Protection Act and Environmental Assessment Act were all amended through Bill C-45, terms that Idle No More view as exploitative.

Frances Derouchie, an attendee who identified as Mohawk, voiced her support of the rally and appreciation for the large number of Queen’s students involved.

“I love student involvement, I love it, love it,” she said. “They’re here getting educated about the issue and that’s how we’re going to win this battle, through education.”

— Terence Wong

AMS cuts costs on John Orr Dinner

AMS commissioners and officers once again attended the John Orr Award Dinner this year, but at less of a cost to the budget.

The dinner is hosted by the Toronto alumni branch in downtown Toronto and is attended by alumni, administration, faculty, student leaders and Queen’s Bands. It honours an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the university community; this year’s winner was former chancellor Charles Baillie.

The AMS typically sends members to connect with alumni, as do faculty societies like the Arts and Science Undergraduate Society, the Engineering Society and the Commerce Society, each of which pays for varying portions of the event.

“The event is actually quite expensive. I think this year the plate was $135 for the event,” AMS President Doug Johnson said. “And then if you factor in transportation, the cost of a hotel for the night, it turns out to cost a lot of money.”

In the past, he said, the AMS has taken different approaches to financing the excursion.

“Some years it pays for the whole thing, some years it pays for just transportation, some years it pays for the hotel, etc. etc.,” he said. “So this year Tristan, Mira and I decided that we were just going to subsidize the event and we were only going to pay for a portion of the dinner.”

The AMS paid for half of the $135 dinner, and asked all council members and officers they invited to pay the other half, as well as arrange their own transportation and accommodation. Last year, he said, the entire dinner was covered by the AMS.

Johnson said the decision to cut back is part of across-the-board budget cuts in the AMS, including a reduction of about 10 per cent for all commissions.

— Holly Tousignant

Statue of Sir John A. Macdonald vandalized

Kingston Police were alerted when a statue of Sir John A. Macdonald was found vandalized on Friday in City Park.

The notification came to police shortly before 8 a.m. on Friday, just hours before the scheduled gathering to celebrate the 198th birthday of the famous Canadian figure.

The statue was splattered in red paint, and phrases and words like “This is not your land,” “murderer” and “colonizer,” as well as an expletive, were painted in white.

The incident was believed to have occurred between 5:30 p.m. on Jan. 10 and 7:45 a.m. on Jan. 11.

“In terms of the political aspect of it, we’re really not going to comment,” Kingston Police Media Relations Officer and Const. Steven Koopman said, referring to unfounded rumors of a connection to the Idle No More rally that took place the same day.

He said police won’t ignore the connection, but won’t be making definitive conclusions at this point.

At the time of print, there were no announcements as to who was responsible for the vandalism.

“We do have issues in town, as every city does with graffiti,” Koopman said.“I would be doubtful that these younger persons who do it for art reasons or for personal tagging reasons would be behind this, but again, that’s something we wouldn’t discount.”

— Rachel Herscovici

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