Issue 7: Darts & Laurels

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Darts:

City environmental concerns forgotten

The Kingston Environmental Advisory Forum has fallen into disarray. A part of Kingston’s “Canada’s Most Sustainable City” initiative, the group has failed to reach quorum at its last four meetings. A motion that the body passed, which requested that future City reports contain sections on “environmental considerations”, has essentially been ignored. The fact that environmental issues have fallen by the wayside in Kingston is symptomatic of a larger problem. Many are quick to use sustainability and environmentalism as political or civic calling cards without actually factoring them into their plans. Politicians and City staff need to be held accountable on this front as issues like climate change are not going away.

Putin’s anti-gay Olympics

Russia’s anti-gay laws are an affront to basic morality and human decency. The fact that gay activists and regular people are oppressed for displaying their love is more than unsettling. At this point, however, boycotting the Sochi Olympics in response to these events isn’t a realistic option. Apart from logistical barriers and punishing Canadian athletes, a boycott would be hypocritical and short-sighted. The West has largely ignored Russia’s longstanding mistreatment of sexual minorities. Taking a stand now on this issue would be fairly arbitrary. Why was there no boycott of the Beijing Olympics due to horrible human rights abuses taking place in China?

AMS promises unfulfilled

The current AMS executive deserves credit for introducing some positive new initiatives and services like The Brew. However, the executive’s failure to come through on some projects promised during last year’s election is disheartening. The team promised new blue lights in City and Victoria Parks, WiFi in residential areas around campus and monthly LGBTQ nights at Alfie’s (since renamed The Underground). Initiatives like new blue lights and more WiFi coverage are huge undertakings that have come up against real but predictable barriers. Why make “ambitious” promises if they have no hope of coming to fruition? Like many politicians, this executive has fallen into the pattern of making promises it can’t keep.

Laurels:

The Whig-Standard’s seven-part series on Line 9

The Whig Standard's investigative coverage last week on the Line 9 pipeline is deserving of great praise. As a small paper with limited resources, it would be easy to churn out piecemeal day-to-day journalism, but the Whig took on an expansive project. If mainstream media organizations are going to survive, it will be because this type of investigative digging and in-depth coverage keeps readers willing to pay. In a scattered and confused media climate, these efforts are critical. The Toronto Star’s recent focus on investigations is another great example.

Opposition to the Parti Québécois’ (PQ) racist proposal

It’s great to see all the opposition to the recently announced Quebec values charter. In addition to street protests in Montreal, an Ontario hospital released an advertisement appealing to Quebec medical students with the tagline “We don’t care what’s on your head; we care what’s in it”. Almost all political commentators and politicians outside of Quebec have come out against the proposal. This measured response, which comes from regular people, politicians, political commentators and institutions, stands in contrast to the racist politics of the PQ. Pauline Marois has manufactured a controversy to win votes among her largely white and rural base. It’s a shame that more important economic and social issues have fallen to the wayside because everyone’s attention is on this ridiculous proposal.

The Brew opens

The Brew is a promising addition to campus. Students now have a fresh alternative to the long lines in the Queen's Centre. The fact that The Brew is occupying space in what was formerly a very dead zone of the JDUC is a large part of its appeal. The soups and sandwiches, the seating and the neat details like the sign, which was created by fine arts students, all make for a cozy vibe. All in all, the location was branded very well. What was once an isolated part of the JDUC is now a decent hangout spot.

Queen’s workers unite

Queens’s post-doctoral fellows are voting to potentially authorize a strike for better wages and benefits. Post-doctoral fellows are PhDs who have been hired by the University to do research. While they are full-time employees, they have to pay out-of-pocket to get access to benefits. As if this weren’t bad enough, some fellows are paid as little as $28,000 a year as there is no base salary for their work and little hope of salary increases. The fact that these workers are so undercompensated is a symptom of an anti-intellectual culture that doesn’t recognize the contributions of its brightest. Some Queen’s post-docs are even doing cancer research. It’s good they are putting themselves in a more aggressive bargaining position because they deserve more.

Journal Editorial Board

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