Category Archives: Issue 4 Fall ’10

What the hell am I doing here?

Academic Dean, Robert Kavanagh, speaks about behaviour at the Humanities conference

By Alexandra Giubelli

Last Thursday, several students attended the Humanities conference where Academic Dean, Robert Kavanagh, gave a lecture on how studying Humanities provides a good context for making life decisions, and how that thinking creates an impact in public life.

The conference started with Kavanagh saying hello in many languages, explaining that languages allow communities to develop around them.

“I said yes to do this conference because I like to put myself in situations I don’t know much about. It gives me challenge and reminds me that I know little,” Kavanagh said. He then showed the meaning of the word public and the many antonyms to the word.

Kavanagh explained his role as the Academic Dean. He then took some time to explain the Dawson hierarchy.

“Even if we are in a public space, we keep things to ourselves, it’s part of being a complex human being.”

He explained that critical thinking was important to develop as it helps our ability to reflect, find the truth and the nature of good and evil. Those are the qualities needed to help make decisions.

“The turning point decisions of my life were driven by intuition, vision, fear, desire, hope and challenge. Pulling and pushing me in different directions. It’s important to be able to think clear through all of this. Question what you believe in, question what’s in front of you.

Behind Kavanagh as he was speaking, was a banner with the word “truth” on it. He asked someone in the crowd to come forward and read what was written inside the word.

“The word in itself is an illusion. It hides many other aspects, many hidden meanings that are sometimes crude unspoken words.”

A few questions were asked at the end of his speech and Kavanagh  finished off by saying, “Words are great tools. We can learn how to think better to interact better with people. Always be aware of what people need and want.”


Letter from the Editor

Salutations Populace of Dawson,

On September 10th, 2010, a former student called James Risdon wrote a comment in the Feedback section of the website expressing his poor opinion of the school newspaper. Saying it is “revolting” and “it’s certainly enough to make an alumni like me want to disassociate himself from Dawson College as much as possible.” To that I say, well…you’re allowed you’re opinion, I guess. However, I will have to respectfully disagree with your sentiment. I hate to say it buddy, but many teenagers are revolting. If you think for an instant that in your youth you were not perceived by the older generations as revolting, you are probably mistaken. Our newspaper, The Plant, is a mere reflection of the youth in today’s society. We say rude and crude things; we enjoy fart jokes; and we certainly pride ourselves on these matters. I bet that your generation did, too. If The Plant of your day did not reflect that sentiment as openly as we do today, well, it is just because the rules were stricter in those days. It is as if you are just realising that the younger generations are twisted; and it makes me wonder why you seem to have forgotten your youth so soon.

On another note, I see that you only mention the Voices section, which is there specifically to cater to our “dirty” side. The rest of The Plant is more than just penises and vaginas; it contains a wide range of diverse articles, covering sports, art, politics, international affairs, and all the other things we care about when we are not making fart jokes.

You state that you want to disassociate yourself from the school just because of its newspaper. The first thing that pops in my mind is, if something so insignificant effects your views of Dawson, then your CEGEP experience could not have been that great. The second thing that pops in my mind is the fact that you are blowing this WAY out of proportion with your comments. It’s like saying: I want to be disassociated from Canada because I don’t like how Harper’s Conservative government is running our country. I might not like it, but I would never say that I don’t want to be called Canadian. No, the proper thing to do is complain about it, and come election time, I’m going to do something about it. So if you TRULY hate the Plant and some of its vulgar views of the world, then why don’t you do something about it? Start a petition, get in touch with the Board of Governors, meet with the DSU, picket in front of the college at rush hour, but do something. Don’t just sit at your computer and tell the world that you want to be disassociated with your former school.

Stay Classy Dawson…Word to your mothers!

Samuel Lavigne Schmidt

Gun law brings protest

Dawson students show solidarity against Bill C-391

By: Melina Giubilaro

The Dawson Student Union (DSU) organized a trip to Ottawa to protest Bill C-391, a bill abolishing gun registry for shotguns and rifles last Wednesday.

Approximately 25 students and one teacher accompanied the DSU to express their united opposition against law 391.

“We’re here to show politicians that it’s important for Dawson students since we’ve been victims and we don’t want it to happen again,” Shannon Gittens, DSU Director of External Affairs said. “What if one of your daughters was the next Anastasia, it affects a lot more people than they think.”

During the two hour bus ride, Vijay Krishnan, DSU Student Life Coordinator, handed out white t-shirts on which was written: “This is what democracy looks like.” Once in Ottawa, Dawson students were given flowers and several held posters as everyone walked from the University of Ottawa to the Parliament Hill.

Everyone was told not to protest by singing or screaming while walking to Parliament Hill. Walking as a group, Dawson students held flowers commemorating all the victims of the Dawson shooting.

“None of the students who are present today witnessed the shooting,” Michaël Lessard, DSU Treasurer said.  “However, it’s something you can still feel while walking in Dawson.”

The Dawson group was welcomed by Bloc Quebecois leader Gilles Duceppe, former Liberal leader and current MP for Saint-Laurent–Cartierville Stephane Dion, NDP MP Paul Dewar, Coalition for Gun Control President Wendy Cukier, and Westmount-Ville Marie MP Marc Garneau.

Duceppe explained that all the members of each party must not only say they want to vote but have to show up to express their solidarity.

“While I was in committee, and heard the victims of École Polytechnique and the victims of Dawson College come forward, I’d say they shouldn’t have to fight this battle alone,” said Dion. “Tonight is about winning in the broader contest, about not having to face this issue again.”

Dewar announced that the gun registry would be saved that night but what was important was to change the way politics are done. The main focus was to strengthen gun control, continue to unite our country and to stand for fairness and justice.

“We came here to show that we’re here and that we want the registry, we’re trying to send a clear message to Harper. Abolishing the registry only means insulting the victims at Polytechnique and the victims at Dawson,” Lessard said.

Once the rally was over, Dawson students were asked to drop the flowers at the door of Parliament symbolizing peace and hope for public security in Canada.

“It’s an impressive turn out. Something will happen even though it might take long. We’ll do the fight because it’s for our students,” Gittens said. “The DSU will continue to plan things so that our union feels safe and to support Dawson students.”

The students who participated missed a day of class but will get academic amnesty from their teachers for supporting the matter.

“I didn’t know what was going to happen. We were the only ones who came and the gravity and gesture comes out even louder if you’re the only ones present,” Ursula Misztal, English Literature teacher said. “I feel like I was involved in something really real. The whole event was amazingly well put.”

Prime Minister Stephan Harper and MP Candice Hoeppner failed in their efforts to kill the long gun registry. The registry stays intact with 153 in favour and 151 against.

Snap that shot

A photo contest will be held in order to help improve Montreal health   conditions

By Katrina Tortorici

For the second year in a row, Youth Branch of Doctors of the World Canada is organizing a photo contest in order to promote Doctors of the World values to young people from ages 12 to 30.

This year’s theme is Mutual Aid Here and Abroad. Participants are encouraged to snap shots of moments of mutual aid that they witness or take part in and send in two photos to enter in the contest, each accompanied by a short text of approximately 250 words that relates to the theme.

A first, second and third prize will be awarded. The first prize is a one-day session with a professional photo journalist, the second prize is the World Press Photo 2010 book, and the third prize is a gift certificate to a photography store or a subscription to National Geographic.

The deadline to submit photos has been moved from Sept. 30 to Oct. 8. The photo exposition will then be held on Oct 22, followed by a conference on “Project Montreal” – a project created in 1999 by Doctors of the World that will help improve health conditions for the fraction of the population in Montreal that is omitted from the health care system.

“This Youth Branch is established in Montreal only for the moment, and it is the only Youth Branch existing throughout all of the Doctors of the World organizations in the world,” Catherine Ji, organizer of the second edition of the photo contest, said. Doctors of the World believe that any person, regardless of their social standing or any personal conditions, should have access to healthcare.

Founded in 2009 by McGill Med students David-Martin Milot and Marie-Renée Lajoie, Youth Branch of Doctors of the World Canada is the first of its kind among all the Doctors of the World international network. In order to emphasize its purpose and values, it arranges not only activities like this photo contest but other events that continue to involve those who want to lend a hand, such as fundraisers for Haiti and lectures on international health topics.

The standards to enter the contest are glossy paper (a minimum size of 8 ½ x 11 inches), a minimum resolution of 72 DPI, and black and white or colour prints are accepted, as well as film or digital. Photos and contact information are to be sent at or 338 Sherbrooke East, Mtl, Qc. H2X1E6.

Aid the AIDS fundraiser

The Theresa Foundation’s Mnjale had a fundraiser to raise money for AIDS

By: Beatrice Broderick-Auger

The Theresa Foundation held a fundraiser for the Grandmothers of Mnjale last Friday, at the Westmount Park United Church, where many performers took the stage and entertained a room filled with people who supported the cause against AIDS.

The aim of this foundation is to inform people of the AIDS/HIV pandemic that is greatly affecting countries of Africa. The Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign is a way for Canadian grandmothers to help and support African grandmothers who have to raise their grandchildren following the death of their own children from AIDS.

Therese Bourque-Lambert is an active member of the West Hill Grandmothers Group in Notre-Dame-de-Grace (NDG) who is associated with the Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign of the Steven Lewis Foundation.

The West Hill Grandmothers Group decided they wanted to find a village of their own to partner with, in addition to their Steven Lewis Foundation work. A Canadian friend of Mme. Bourque-Lambert, Roger Roome, who previously worked in Africa, helped her choose Mnjale from a large selection of African villages whose women were raising grandchildren orphaned by AIDS.  Mme. Bourque-Lambert’s involvement connected Dawson to Mnjale, Malawi.

Over the past three years, the Grandmothers have established a very personal relationship to this village and its inhabitants, providing blankets, pigs, chickens, watering cans, fertilizer, a bicycle and, most recently, school fees for a grandson. The communication between Montreal and Mnjale has been through Mr. Roome and Sister Gisele, a nun stationed close to the village.

Last Friday’s event was the first of what organizers hope will be an annual fundraising for the African grandmothers. The evening got off to a lively start with The Good Buddies. The spirit and love of the grandmothers was transmitted to the audience through the group’s folk music.

Later on, Alice Abracen recited a very touching poem recalling her experiences of visiting Mnjale with images which were shown to the crowd. Her performance was very lively. Her brother, Isaac Abracen, played guitar and sang soulfully, accompanied by the vocalist Kyla Smith.  Grandma Therese listened with obvious pride.

Other Dawson performers included Laura Mitchell, an English teacher who, along with Debra Kirshenbaum, an actress, read a very poignant story, and Barb Kelly who recited a few of her emotional poems.

The Foundation had a guest appearance by Sophie Doyle, a young singer with a strong voice as well as a great sense of humour. She took the stage announcing that she would sing her own material but had nothing on Africa or good deeds, only heartbreak and cute boys. A student at Concordia, Sophie, performed at the Vinyl Cafe with Stuart Maclean. She recently sang the national anthem with Sam Roberts at another fundraiser.

Mme Bourque-Lambert was very emotional about the great turnout. “There are a lot more people than we expected.” The success of the evening was mainly due to the devotion of three generations of Mme. Bourque-Lambert’s family, two of them here at Dawson. She is the mother of Ann Lambert, English department and Dawson Theatre Collective teacher, who in turn, is the mother of Alice and Isaac Abracen, students at Dawson. They are the Dawson “dots.”

Strike spark ignites

Students gather to discuss the possibility of a general strike against the upcoming tuition increases

By: Cindy Antonacci Tardif

Francophone CEGEPs and university students from all over Quebec gathered at CEGEP du Vieux Montréal on Sept. 23 to attend a general meeting regarding the prospects of a plan of action against the $200 increase on university tuition fees due fall of 2012. The meeting was inconclusive.

Chaired by l’Association Générale des Etudiants de Bois-de- Boulogne (AGEBdeB) employee Marie-Eve Ruel, the meeting lasted less than three hours and was attended by approximately 100 students.

Anglophone students were sparse: Alejandra Mocita Zaga Mendez, from McGill University, was the only student from an English school board to speak out during the debates. Mendez pointed out that the majority of the people in the audience were confused about what the topic of the meeting was.

Titled Assemblée public pour un plan d’action de grève générale illimité, the meeting presentation and name misled its audience. Ruel explained that this particular assembly was about assessing people’s reactions to the 2012 budget that was imposed last March 30 by Minister of Finances, Raymond Bachand. Ruel further explained that the agenda shown on the projector was just a loose outline of what people could discuss.

The meeting led on without any progress. All the students could agree on the upcoming strike, which would hopefully be as successfully supported as the student strike of 2005.
Brenda Branswell wrote in The Gazette of Feb. 25, 2005: “Student association officials said about 30,000 students are now on strike from more than a dozen student associations and faculties at francophone CEGEPs and universities.”

Reassuring the crowd was L’Association pour une Solidarité Syndicale Etudiante (ASSÉ) spoke-person Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois whom appeared at the microphone more than once during the discussions.

Sitting next to Ruel was assembly coordinator Keena Grégoire, from AGEBdeB. Gregoire organized the meeting for the mobilization committee of l’ASSÉ.
“L’idée de l’assemblée d’aujourd’hui c’est parce que tout le monde se rende compte que face au budget qui est arrivé il a eu une importance de lutter actuellement et de s’organiser,” Grégoire explained.

In a sign of support, the majority of the students present were sporting a red felt square, a symbol that dates from the 2005 student movement strike.
Louis Laramée, a Social Sciences student at CEGEP de Sherbrooke, explained that although the symbol dates from 2005, it continues to apply to the current situation because the goal for free education has yet to be accomplished. “Un carre rouge pour les étudiants en rouge,” he specified.

The meeting was forced to be ajourned at 10:10 p.m. due to loss of quorum. No further meeting date was specified.

Many anglophone student unions were invited to the event including the Dawson Student Union (DSU), none of whom attended. When questioned on the reason of their absence, DSU Deputy Chairperson Amanda Arella replied: “ …we were unable to meet as an executive beforehand to discuss [the meeting at CEGEP du Vieux Montreal], so as a result no one from the DSU attended.”

Series of inspirations

Three published authors come to Dawson to share their work and answer student questions

By: Bianca Brais

Dawson College welcomes authors Eric Siblin, Lisa Moore and Jen Soofkong Lee to read from their work and discuss their careers with students at the reading series which will begin on Oct. 5.

“Attending the readings is a good opportunity for students to meet successful published authors and find out about how they have made their careers,” Miranda Campbell, a Dawson English teacher said.

The reading series is an event that was established long ago at the College. “I don’t know exactly when it started, but there has never been a theme [to the readings],” Campbell explained. The event is basically held to inform students, it’s a way to have successful authors come and answer any kinds of questions they may have.

“Someday I would really love to be a journalist. It’s very fascinating to hear how these published authors got to where they are,” Melany Gagne, a fourth semester Languages student said.

Contrarily to what several Dawson students thought, the reading series do not consist of speeches. The authors come and read from their own work. “I think it’s really cool to have authors come and share what they’ve written. It’s different from what we are used to, lectures and speeches,” Rebecca Gelineau, a third semester Psychology student said.
“This year, there is one event in the fall and two in the winter,” Campbell explained. The first author scheduled on Oct. 5 at 3 p.m. is Eric Siblin who will be reading in 5B16.

Siblin is an award-winning author, journalist, and documentary filmmaker based in Montreal. Several of his books have won the Quebec Writers Federation Mavis Gallant Prize for Non-Fiction. His first book, The Cello Suites: J.S. Bach, Pablo Casals, and the Search for a Baroque Masterpiece was published by House of Anansi Press in 2009 and several other countries in 2010.

The two authors who will be reading from their work in the winter are Lisa Moore who will be presenting on Feb. 10 at 4 p.m. in room 5B16 and Jen Soofkon Lee who is scheduled on March 22 at 4 p.m. in room 5B16.

Lisa Moore is the author of novels Alligator and February. She also has a collection of short stories such as “Degrees of Nakedness” and “Open.”

The first novel written by Jen Sookfong Lee is The End of East (Vintage Canada) which was chosen as part of Knopf Canada’s prestigious new Face of Fiction program. Her book had great critics and was singled out as impressive and emotional.

“I’m excited for the readings, maybe they’ll inspire me,” Gagne said.