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The Ubyssey Oct 20, 2006

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Array  Culture
Friday, 20 October, 2006   THE UBYSSEY
Killers vocalist commits hubris with new album
Sam's Town
Island Def Jam
by Kyle Harland
Fans of The Killers had high
hopes for the band's new album,
Sam's Town. After their first
album Hot Fuss was such a success, who can blame anyone for
having big expectations? Lead
singer Brandon Flowers certainly
can't, claiming that his new disc
is "one of the best albums in the
past 20 years."
Despite a unique sound and
some catchy songs, Sam's Town
doesn't come close to living up to
Flowers's claim. It's a good album
but Flowers's ego is obviously bigger than his talent because this
disc will not be an undying classic.
Expectations aside though, it's an
above average disc.
The Killers move toward a new
sound this time around, much
different from Hot Fuss. There
are too many stale, cliche bands
out there, so I applaud The Killers
for experimenting with a unique
sound and expanding their musical style. But big fans of the
band's first album may not be
quite as impressed.
One big change in their sound
is the move away from the synthesisers prominently featured in
Hot Fuss. This has been replaced
by heavy electric guitar in Sam's
Town. If you're a hardcore 80s
fusion fan, don't fret—this disc
still has enough synth to go
around—it's just very different
from their previous album.
Though it's certainly not one
of the best albums in the last
twenty years, Sam's Town does
have a handful of great tracks. A
blend of varied influences including David Bowie, Bruce
Springsteen, and U2 to name a
few makes for an interesting
sound that deserves a listen.
One great thing about The
Killers is how they can mix a wide
range of genres into their own
sound. Disco, hard rock, folk,
country, big band and alternative
styles are all melded together to
form a great sound in Sam's
Town— for the most part, that is.
The album also has a few tracks
that take this mix of sound too
far. "My List," for example, seems
like it was inspired by the soundtrack for a Nintendo game. That's
a genre that I could do without.
There are a number of other
drawbacks to Sam's Town. The
album has a more serious feel to
it than Hot Fuss, which is perhaps
a move in the wrong direction for
The Killers. Due to this shift, the
lyrics often leave something to be
desired. Another flaw is that the
CD is littered with two painful
tracks, the "Enterlude" and the
"Exitlude." When I first looked at
the CD, I thought this looked like
a nice idea to bring the CD together. Then I heard them and it
became apparent that I was clearly mistaken. These two tracks feature out of tune vocals, tiresome
chord progressions and lyrics
that sound like they were written
by a grade two kid who just
learned how to rhyme. Fortunately,
these two tracks only comprise
three minutes and 15 seconds of
the album, but that's still
three  minutes  and   15  seconds
too much.
Sam's Town seems to be filled
with hits and misses. There are a
few duds on the album mixed
among good songs.  This really
leaves the album without a sense
of continuity. On the other hand,
the four or five memorable
tracks probably make buying the
album worth it. @
The Duthie Lecture feat.
travellers to new-age crystal
RT Hon Adrienne Clarkson
fondlers will enjoy two hours in
October 22,8pm
a magical land far, far away land
The Chan Centre, UBC
with thisTuvan throat singing
Presented by the Vancouver
International Writers Festival,
Duthie Books,and AMS Events,
Moses Mayes
the former Governor General
October 26,8pm
promotes her first publication
Gallery Lounge, UBC
since leaving office,Heart
Experience the funkjazz fusion
of this Vancouver Island phe
nomenon. Tune into QTR's
Beats from the Basement next
October 22,8pm
Saturday to win tickets to the
Canadian Memorial Church,
show. Tickets are also available
for purchase at Zulu, Scratch, or
Everyone from committed
The Outpost (UBQ.
avant-gardists to world-beat
Correction: In last week's correction of the previous
week's editoral, "The catch of the Conservtive cuts" the
wrong GST cut was $26 billion and should have been
$26 million, and the correction was $26 million but
should have been $26 billion. For more information come
to our news meetings, Tuesday 12:30.
October JAovies
7:00 Nacho Libre
9:00 Pirates of the Caribbean:
Dead Man's Chest
UBC Film Society
SINCE 1935
7:00 Silence of the Lambs
9:30 Se7en
HONOUR SOCIETY. Congratulations
to the new Inductees! D KADI.) NIL
TO JOIN in order to participate in
the Induction Reception: November
1st 2006. "Can still join after this date.
Induction Reception: Saturday November
18th 2006, 1:00 p.m. at the Chan
Centre. Local: www.ubcgotdenkey.org U
International: www.goldenkey.org
COOPERATION. UBC is organizing a
Northern Uganda Campaign nn campus
this month with the aim of raising
awareness of the conHicc in the region as
well as funds to assist humanitarian reliel
efforts. For more information on our
events and how co get involved, visit www.
.caaemic services
English speaker! ESI, English (speaking,
writing, grammar). Sciences, Liberal
Arts. Editing (Masters and PhD theses,
papers, books). Elizabeth 7783222151
(SMS only), tcherina99@hotmail.com.
A BREAD AFFAIR is a store that goes
bevond bread. We showcase our own
quality hand-made breads, pastries,
chocolates, imported and local cheeses,
and many more. We are looking for
Counter Stall who understand what great
customer service is all about. Please email
your resume to hr@abreadalFair.com. Our
store is located ar the West End.
Mt.Seymour seeking energetic, qualified
ski/snowboard instructors. Competitive
wages, great perks. Call 604-986-2261 ext.
246: email snowsttp@ntountseymour.com
a Big Brother. Spend a few hours a week
biking, hiking, and being a buddy to a
cool kid. CajT6G4-876-2447 ext 224 or
www. bighrothers Vancouver, com
laughter to your life by spending one
hour a week wiih a kid. We have
lt oppnriniiHies tor men arid
women. Call 604-876-2447 ext, 246 or
www. bigbrorhers Vancouver, com
red mahogany. S980 or best oiler. Must
sell! 604-488*0^12
only non-animal research.
www. H u m a ti eSeal .org
Screenings @ Norm Theatre in SUB
Admission: S3.50 (non-members) $2.00 (members)
Membership: 510 (students)
For more info, call 604 822 3697 or visit www.ams.Libc.ca/clubs/filmsoc
ra uumcuiar
LEARN PAINTING, draw nudes and
partv with artists in the Visual Arts
Student Society of UBC. Novice class
October 24th @ 6361 University Blvd.
open to all! www.vasstibc.com for details!
Looking for a roommate?
Got something to sell?
Or just have an announcement to
If you are a student, you can place
classifieds forFREE!
For more information, visit Room 23 in
the SUB (basement) or call 822-1654.
Friday, 20 October, 2006
Editorial Board
coordinating editor Erie Szeto
coordina ting@ubyssey.be.ca
news editors   Colleen Tang &d
Carolynne Burkholder
news@ubyssey.be. ca
culture editor Jesse Ferreras
culture@ubyssey.be. ca
sports editor Boris Korby
sports@ubyssey.be. ca
Momoko Price
photo editor Oker Chen
Champagne Choquer
productio n@ubyssey.be. ca
Jesse Marchand
volunteers Mary Leighton
Andrew MacRae
Matthew Jewkes
webmaster@ ubyssey. b c ca
The Ubyssey is the official student newspaper of the University
of British Columbia. It is published every Tuesday and Friday
by The Ubyssey Publications Society. We are an autonomous,
democratically run student organisation, and all students are
encouraged to participate.
Editorials are chosen and written by the Ubyssey staff. They
are the expressed opinion of the staff, and do not necessarily
reflect the views of The Ubyssey Publications Society or the
University of British Columbia. All editorial content appearing in
The Ubyssey is the property of The Ubyssey Publications Society.
Stories, opinions, photographs and artwork contained herein
cannot be reproduced without the expressed, written permission
of The Ubyssey Publications Society.
The Ubyssey is a founding member of Canadian University Press
(CUP) and adheres to CUP's guiding principles.
Letters to the editor must be under 300 words. Please include
your phone number, student number and signature (not for
publication) as well as your year and faculty with all submissions.
ID will be checked when submissions are dropped off at the
editorial office of The Ubyssey; otherwise verification will be done
by phone. "Perspectives" are opinion pieces over 300 words but
under 750 words and are run according to space."Freestyles" are
opinion pieces written by Ubyssey staff members. Priority will be
given to letters and perspectives over freestyles unless the latter is
time sensitive. Opinion pieces will not be run until the identity of
the writer has been verified. The Ubyssey reserves the right to edit
submissions for length and clarity. All letters must be received by
12 noon the day before intended publication. Letters received after
this point will be published in the following issue unlessthere is an
urgent time restriciton or other matter deemed relevant by the
Ubyssey staff.
It is agreed by all persons placing display or classified advertising
that if the Ubyssey Publications Society fails to publish an
advertisement or if an error in the ad occurs the liability of the
UPS will not be greater than the price paid for the ad.The UPS
shall not be responsible for slight changes or typographical errors
that do not lessen the value or the impact of the ad.
Room. 24, Student Union Building
6138 Student Union Boulevard
Vancouver, BCV6T1Z1
tel: 604-822-2301
fax: 604-822-9279
web: www.ubyssey.bc.ca
e-mail: feedback@ubyssey.bcca
Room 23, Student Union Building
advertising: 604-822-1654
business office: 604-822-6681
fax: 604-822-1658
e-mail: advertising@ubyssey.be.ca
business manager Fernie Pereira
ad sales Bernadette Delaquis
ad design Shalene Takara
Suddenly,at Patty Comeau o'clock,George Prior, Leigh-Anne
Mathieson,Gayatri Bajpai and Bree Cropper burst onto the
Kellan Higgins.lt was a real PaulBucci,asCandiceOkada,
decided to Claudia Li,effectively making a Brandon Adams.
Kathryn Stuart,they thought,they being Kyle Harland, Lacy-
Claire Saunders,Amanda Truscott and Brenna Dupperon.
There was no Joanna Mclntyre out of this, so they began
Raran Melling,and ended with a Victor Liang. Katherine
Howard saw this veritable Eric Szeto through her Colleen Tang
and Carolynne Burkholder. Jesse Ferreras knew the Boris
Korby of Momoko Price was about to Oker Chen. In a
Champagne Choquerjesse Marchand threw Mary Leighton,
stopping the infamous Andrew MacRae and Mathew
editorial graphic Michael Bround
University       Canada Post Sales Agreement
Press Number 0040878022 THE UBYSSEY   Friday, 20 October, 2006
VIFF winner an insightful portrayal
Vancouver International Film
October 9
by Rowan Mclling
Writer/director Florian Henckel
von Donnersmarck's debut feature
film The Lives of Others offers a terrifying look at life in the former
East Germany. A superb counterpoint to the nostalgic depiction of
the German Democratic Republic
(GDR) that characterised Good Bye
Lenin!, The Lives of Others illustrates the repressive and corrupt
side of the GDR. Set five years
before the fall of the Berlin Wall,
the film focuses on the brutal control exercised by the GDR over its
citizens through the use of the
socialist secret police, the Stasi.
When a minister in the East
German government takes a liking
to stage actress Christa-Maria
Sieland (Martina Gedeck), she and
her playwright boyfriend, Georg
Dreyman (Sebastian Koch), are put
under surveillance. Stasi agent
Gerd Wiesler (Ulrich Muhe) is
placed in charge of tapping the
couple's apartment and, quite literally, listening to their lives.
Wiesler is a staunch and unquestioning socialist and, told by his
boss that he's due for a promotion
should evidence be found against
Dreyman, he listens for anything
that might indict the playwright.
The film centres on Wiesler's
experience observing the couple.
At first he is rigid and emotionless, yet a highly intelligent servant of socialism. But he becomes
engrossed in the passionate and
artistic lives of the "others" whom
he monitors, so much that he
begins to question his own mean-
THE LIVES OF OTHERS: German film shows the darker side of the former East Germany.
ingless and routine existence. As
the film progresses and Dreyman
begins to engage in subversive
activity, Wiesler starts to doubt the
regime, which he served so diligently, and attempts to use his
power to protect the couple.
Henckel von Donnersmarck
creates not only an excellent film,
but also a sophisticated script.
Dealing with recurring themes in
German Literature, such as repression, the role of the artist and the
concept of "the outsider," The
Lives of Others is a complex film,
open to varying interpretations.
The cinematography is very skillful
and helps to create a repressive
atmosphere—scenes are lit in sickly, oppressive colours, and the East
Berlin of the 1980s is effectively
depicted as a bleak and machinelike environment.
The film does have its weak
points, however. Certain scenes
seem rather contrived, such as
when Wiesler breaks into the
artists' apartment to steal a book
of poetry. However, the film averts
the potential disaster of portraying
Wiesler's transformation in a similarly exaggerated way. Ulrich
Muhe's stunning performance as
Wiesler is the highlight of the film,
and he convincingly portrays his
transformation as a slow and emotional process. This being the
focus of the film, it's easy to let the
weaker moments slip.
What Henckel von Donnersmarck
ultimately yields is a scathing critique of the repressive GDR
regime. But The Lives of Others
also goes beyond this political
point. Having already proved its
worth at the German Film Awards,
winning best picture, screenplay,
director, and lead actor, it would
not be surprising to see this well-
acted, intricate film draw attention
at this year's Oscars. @
Industrialised Landscapes eerily beautiful
Vancouver    International    Film
October 15
by Amanda Truscott
Manufactured Landscapes might
make you want to leave the city forever and surround yourself with
greenery and pure, clean air. "But
you'd drive there in your car," said
Director Jennifer Baichwal when I
told her how it made me feel. "There
is no away."
The film follows renowned
Canadian photographer Edward
Burtynsky as he photographs
the wastelands of industrialising
China, switching between stills of
Burtynsky's photos and moving
shots of the people who inhabit the
landscapes pictured within them.
Although the film is set in China,
Baichwal is adamant that the country itself must not be seen as its
main focus.
"I was very concerned that the
film not be perceived as a film about
China," she said. "It's a film about all
of us."
The devastation of the Chinese
landscape, she continued, is "all driven by people in the West and the stupid things we need to buy."
These statements are highly
political, but the film itself avoids
forcing  onto  audiences  such  an
overt critique of consumerism.
Instead, it focuses on what
Baichwal calls the "fruitful ambiguity" of Burtynsky's work. "The
ambiguity of looking at something
that is really beautiful, but ultimately waste, is really powerful,"
she said. "There are many existing
environmental discourses that
have failed to move people in the
West...raising conscious-ness without argument is more effective."
There is something disconcerting about Burtynsky's images,
which make the most devastating
ecological    destruction    appear
strangely beautiful. For Baichwal,
the discomfort comes from the
realisation that "we are all implicated" in the production of these
Even Burtynsky himself
acknowledges his complicity in
the destruction of the landscapes
he photographs, pointing out as he
shoots a silver mine that the chemicals on his film are derived from
silver, he has arrived in a car, and
all his equipment is metallic. His
observations about our role in
destroying the environment are
refreshingly un-hypocritical:  "we
don't want to give up what we
have, but we realise that what we
are doing is creating problems
that run deep," he said.
According to Baichwal, Manufactured Landscapes is an extension of the "visceral impact" of
Burtynsky's photographs into the
filmic medium.
"I really hope that the film will
shift consciousness about our impact
on the planet as a collective and as
individuals," she said.
With its striking imagery and its
difficult questions, it may very well
do just that. @
Skin a journey
through time
at the Frederic Wood Theatre
Until October 21
by Brcnna Duperron
How many students can say that
they have performed in a Pulitzer
Prize-winning play? The theatre students at UBC's Intermediate BFA
Acting Class all have this distinct
honour as they perform this week
in Thornton Wilder's The Skin of
Our Teeth. The students dazzled
crowds under the direction of
Joanna Garfinkel, a MFA in directing candidate, during the limited
run from October 17 to 21 at the
Frederic Wood Theatre.
a suburban family
that has survived...
through the ice age;
Noah's Flood, and
finally what appears
to be World War II.
The story is about a fledgling
theatre company that is trying to
break the boundaries of theatre
with a show about a suburban family that has survived from the dawn
of time through the Ice Age, Noah's
Flood and finally what appears to
be World War II. The show begins
before the curtain is even lifted
with the characters acting as front-
of-house staff. The audience is then
further entertained with a drummer, Nick Fontaine, who plays
while they are being seated. Not
only does he solo on the drums but
Fontaine also gets the audience in
the mood and feel of the play by
starting each act with an "Events of
the World" newsreel. This segue-
way informs the audience that the
family may be modern but that they
are still stuck in the middle of the
Ice Age.
Courtney Lancaster's role of
Sabina—the sexy housemaid-
brings us back to the days of the
chorus. She often breaks the
proverbial "fourth wall" by addressing the audience directly but not to
explain the play. It is only to comment on how it makes no sense and
to further remind us that we are
indeed watching a play.
The play, while commenting on
the human race and our persistent
attempts to destroy ourselves also
seems to comment on the experimental plays that were being created
at that time. The Skin of Our Teeth
incorporated many aspects of the
absurdist tradition, such as furniture
being randomly lifted from the set
and the lack of an understandable
timeline. Without a single touch of
realism the audience is meant to try
and unravel the symbolism. This
play employs all these elements and
makes a farce of them by saying
directly that the so-called symbolism
makes no real sense—the stark sets
and bizarre mechanics that seemed
to accompany them were in fact very
weird. Dealing with these avant-
garde elements in such a comical
sense makes the production more
accessible to a modern audience
while managing to discard previous
dramatic standards to creuate an all
new kind of theatre. @ Culture
Friday, 20 October, 2006   THE UBYSSEY
Preparation Seminars
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Personalized Professional Instruction
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Personal Tutoring Available
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1-800-779-1779 / 780-428-8700
Coolest place in Chinatown
"""Interviewing in Vancouver on November 11, 2006**
The experience of a lifetime is within your reach!
Enthusiastic, professional individuals are invited to apply to teach
conversational English to adults and/or children at one of our 300+
AEON schools throughout Japan.
Wc offer:    • a competitive salary, work visas and paid training
• a subsidised, private, furnished apartment
• three one-week vacations annually
• a cash bonus upon contract completion
Apply online, or send your resume and a 500 word essay on why
you want to live and work in Japan, by November 5, 2006, to:
AEON Toronto
2500 - 120 Adelaide Street West
Toronto, Ontario M5H 1T1
Fax: (416) 364-7561
E-mail: acontor@aeonet.com
AHCnE     BfUN     JOSEPH     EWNPHCHa       UK AL ASEft
RFMW       OK       HFNHK WC0 BAiW*     OWUBfJH      CROSS
sfjui "i just in. stimuli
In Theaters Tliis October
Be one of the first to
stop by SUB 23, to
pick up a free double
pass to an advanced
screening of:
on Thursday,
October 25, 2006
7:00pm at
Cinemark Tinseltown
Theatre (88 West
Pender Street,
While quantities last.
by Lucy-Claire Saunders
Don't be fooled by the front door. It's
always locked. To get into the
Brickhouse, you have to use the back
door in the alley. Knock, and Leo
Chow will let you in. He's been there
six days a week for the last 14 years.
Ask him how he's doing and he usually says something like "illustrious."
Dressed in his uniform—spandex
shorts and a fanny pack—Leo says
that the Brickhouse is more like a
community centre than anything
else. Some people take workshops
or participate in neighborhood
events, while others take to the bar
stool. "But beer is only the vehicle,"
he says. "People really want to see
who pours the beer."
Leo wanted his bar to be an
escape from the in vogue crowds that
usually dominate Vancouver's bar
scene. More like a living room than a
bar, the Brickhouse is a favorite
among Vancouver locals. But as
much as the Brickhouse sells itself on
an escape from the ultra cool, at least
two movies get filmed here a year,
and the bar is always filled with the
city's hipsters. Without express intention, Leo has created a very cool bar
where very cool people go.
In a corner by the aquarium
filled with tropical fish, there's usually someone from Tons of Fun
University, aka TOFU, a Vancouver-
based poetry slam team. Mike
Mathew McGee orders two shots of
Kentucky Bourbon. As if his naturally alliterative name isn't enough,
Mike has added "Mighty" to the
beginning of it.
Leo brings amber shots over to
Mighty Mike and Shane Koyczan,
another poet in TOFU. They cheer "to
good times" as they knock back their
drinks. Mighty Mike and Shane are
both National Poetry Slam
Champions and travel all over North
America doing what they do best.
They recently showed off their lyrical
talent at the Orpheum.
According to bar guides, Thursday
is poetry night at the Brickhouse. Leo
says this is wrong. The poets come no
matter what night it is. In fact, it turns
out that Leo doesn't care much for
poets. "They're ooey-gooey: like cinnamon buns," he says.
Despite Leo's disdain for poets
and yoga worshippers, poets frequent his bar and a yoga eatery
recently moved in upstairs.
The Brickhouse has none of the
Yaletown yuppies or the Robson
Street trend-whores. It's also free
from the street's more colourful
bunch. "It's a non-sleazy bar in a
pretty sleazy neighborhood," says
Fred Murphy, a regular. The
Brickhouse is in a 100 year old building near Main and Hastings—not the
safest of neighborhoods. Hence the
need to knock at the back door.
Maybe being cool is all an illusion—a one-dimensional image we
present to the world. But then
again, maybe that's only what lame
people say.
On a car ride home one day, the
Simpsons discuss what it means to
be cool:
Marge—"Am I cool kids?"
Bart & Lisa—"No"
Marge—"Good, I'm glad. And
that's what makes me cool—not caring, right?"
Bart & Lisa—"No."
Marge—"Well, how the hell do you
be cool? I feel like we've tried everything here."
Homer—"Wait Marge. Maybe if
you're truly cool, you don't need to be
told you're cool."
Bart—"Well sure you do."
Lisa—"How else would you
Chow walks past the pool table to
pick up empty beer glasses from an
abandoned table. "Who wants to play
Risk?' Jean Frangois Cyr asks.
Nobody answers. He could have been
joking but several board games,
including Risk, are stacked up on a
nearby table: Trivial Pursuit, Clue,
Monopoly. All the classics are there.
Jean Francois, or JF, abandons the
idea and plays darts instead. When I
ask him why he likes to come to the
Brickhouse, he replies with another
question: "Where else is there to
go?" The retired sea urchin hunter is
dismayed by the lack of cool bars in
JF's dart game is soon interrupted when his friend, Fred Murphy
starts getting out of hand. "You know
when his eyes glaze over like that,
it's time to go," says JF. Fred has
been kicked out of the Brickhouse
two times before and it looks like
this will be his third. But Leo isn't
one to hold grudges. Fred'll be back.
Booze. It's the great giver of coolness. Throw a few back. How cool do
you feel? Throw a few more back.
Your words start to slur. You don't
make sense. You're beginning to
lose that edge you had at the beginning of the night. This is the molality of alcohol. Kind of like duality.
One minute you're the coolest person on Earth. The next minute, your
head in is in a toilet.
The Brickhouse never opens
exactly at 7:30. Leo's always fashionably late. He seems happy to be at
work tonight As he pours a frothy,
golden beer, I ask Leo if he thinks
he's cool. "I'm very humble," he says.
"I'm like Gandhi." @
The Dudes stand tall against their competition
5 *<fi
i   «
Media Club
October 11
by Joanna Mclntyre
With the Killers rocking the Orpheum
and the legendary Bob Dylan giving
Pacific Coliseum a night to remember, the Media Club had some stiff
competition on October 11. Luckily,
its three-band line-up was more than
up for the task of entertaining the
modest yet enthusiastic audience.
While the original opener Leeroy
Stagger couldn't make it, replacement Ben Sigston stepped up to the
plate with a noteworthy effort.
Sigston's effortlessly beautiful voice
soared through the set, backed by the
twists and flutters of electric guitars
and anchored in turn by the solidly
melodic notes of the piano or
acoustic guitar. The resulting sound
was honest yet resonant, even without any form of percussion. Things
were off to a good start.
While Sigston's set was quality,
it wasn't exactly the most energising song list. The crowd needed a
boost. Luckily, The Dudes didn't
need to worry about playing to a
settled crowd: second opener
Sweetheart was on the case. With a
set as sharp as their matching black
shirts, checked ties and shoes, the
Vancouver quartet filled the room
with song after song of crisp beats
and alluring guitar riffs that echoed
through the bloodstream. The
meticulously coordinated efforts of
the guitarists, bassist and drummer once again proved the worth of
showing up before the main act. It
wasn't long before Sweetheart had
charmed the limbs of a few willing
dancers to the front of the stage,
adding a few of their own cleverly
choreographed moves to the mix
before handing the crowd, prepped
and primed, over to The Dudes.
The four lads from Calgary were
ready for them, boastfully pointing
out their "three moustache count"
before kicking things off. The Dudes
have a very dynamic sound that
ranges from pop-friendly to hard
core, all tied together by the lead
vocalist's high-pitched wail (not
quite Scissor Sisters high-pitched,
more like Jane's Addiction). They
managed to fit in the majority of
songs off their latest album, Brain
Heart Guitar, including the upbeat,
moralistic "Do the Right Thing," and
a Weezer-esque "Mendoza Line" that
eventually rendered the area in
front of the stage packed with ass-
shakers aplenty.
The Dudes hit a snag with "Fist,"
as the crowd was forced to choose
between following the chorus' suggestion of "makfing] a fist," or enthusiastically clapping along. "If only you
could somehow clap while making a
fist," Dan mused, offering little help
to any lost audience members.
The crowd rose to a boil with
their best song, "Dropkick Queen of
the Weekend," with galloping guitars, irresistible hooks and some
oomph put in the chorus growls.
After a full set, with the added
bonus of some brand new songs,
the crowd was howling for an
encore, eagerly answered by The
Dudes. Sure, Bob Dylan would have
been an epic concert..but for that
night, the Media Club was not a bad
second choice. @ Media Democracy Issue
Confronting media <^nsolidation^again
Media Democracy Day (MDD) turns
ten years old this year. It seems a fitting time to look back at what MDD
has accomplished, what issues it has
raised over the years and ask ourselves what MDD stands for today.
In response to Conrad Black's
takeover of much of the Canada's
press in 1996, various Toronto and
Vancouver groups—unions, communication companies, media outlets
and organisations—rallied together
to oppose media monopolisation.
Media Democracy Day, as it came to
be called, has been celebrated every
October through an assortment of
events, often showcasing independent media, speaker panels, and even
the occasional mention in campus
Whereas Media Democracy
Day's founders had a clear issue to
confront, the focus of MDD seems
less clear today. Conrad Black is not
the media menace he once was.
Currently he is making headlines in
his attempt to get his citizenship
back rather than drawing attention
for hostile takeovers and acquisitions. But even in the absence of
Lord Black, media consolidation
continues at an alarming rate in
Canada, often silencing different yet
important viewpoints.
Whether you get your news
from The Vancouver Sun, The
Province, The National Post,
Metro, The Victoria Times-Herald,
GlobalTV, or CH News, it's all coming from the same source—
CanWest Global. Alternatively, you
could watch CTV and read The
Globe and Mail —both subsidiaries
of Bell Globemedia, another near-
omnipresent corporation.
If citizens, the foundation of
democracy, are to be informed and
empowered they require diverse
media that will present them with a
range of viewpoints. Alternative
newsweeklies such as 'zines, The
Georgia Straight or campus papers
and broadcasting stations such as the
CBC can add balance to our information intake. The Internet is another
source for alternative points of view,
through news sites, search engines,
blogs, and open source collaborative
encyclopedias such as Wikipedia.
Through these mediums citizens of
Canada and hopefully the rest of the
world can achieve an adequate level
of expressive freedom.
Inside this supplement you'll
find a variety of articles on many
subjects concerning threats to journalistic integrity such as censorship, consolidation and fake news
releases as well as hopeful
prospects—independent voices that
dare to offer a different view.
—Media Democracy Issue
Coordinators: Katherine Howard
and Paul Evans
Freedom of Information
threatened, says watchdog group
By Earson Gibson
The BC Freedom of Information
and Privacy Association (FIPA) has
released a study showing that over
the last five years, fewer people are
making freedom of information
requests, response times are
steadily increasing, and access to
politically sensitive information is
becoming more difficult to attain.
The study, titled "Access Denied:
an analysis of the BC Government's
response to freedom of information requests, 2000-2005," was
conducted by a nonprofit organisation, and sponsored by the
Canadian Newspaper Association
and the BC Government and
Service Employees Union.
"We're here to hold the government's feet to the fire," said FIPA's
Executive Director Darrel Evans,
speaking from his office on West
Broadway. "[The results] mean
that it's getting more and more difficult to get access to government
Exactly what information is difficult to access depends on the
Government's Corporate Privacy
and Information Access Branch
(CPIAB), the body that determines
which freedom of information
(FOI) requests are flagged as "sensitive." These requests take longer to
process and are more likely to be
characterised what the study calls
"deemed refusals."
"There   are   a  lot of deemed
refusals," continued Evans, "which
simply means that the government
doesn't respond in the time the legislation says they must, and that's
directly attributable to loss of staff
within the ministry."
Aside from time delays, the
study also found that 65 per cent of
survey respondents were charged a
fee to access documents and that
31 per cent had abandoned a
request because a fee was charged.
According to Evans, "Higher fee
estimates are given now. I'd say that
because most of them don't stand up
to appeal, they're really just a vexatious tactic to discourage requesters."
Kirk LaPointe, an expert on the
topic, said "Freedom of
Information legislation is in severe
need of reform and even a severe
need of implementation. In many
cases governments not only don't
live up to the letter of the law, but
not even to the spirit of the law."
He continued, "I have a sense at
some point that [reform] will all happen at once, that there will be a very
rude awakening. There will be a
threat to our safety that we don't
learn about, a scandal that we're not
privy to, something substantial that
the government has been hiding.
All at once I think the public will
make the demand that governments
be more transparent and the culture
of government be one of disclosure.
At the moment we're not in the
mood to rattle the cage of government, but these things have a way of
going in cycles."
For the moment there is a place
people can go to complain about the
handling of a FOI request—the Office
of the Information and Privacy
Commissioner. The Commissioner
is independent of the government
and acts as an advocate and watchdog for the public. If a citizen is not
satisfied with the final response to an
FOI request, the Commissioner can
review the file and order a hearing.
But the Liberal Government has
steadily cut funding and resources
to the OIPC since 2001. For example, between 2003 and 2005 the
Commissioner's caseload had
increased 27 per cent while his
budget was cut by 3 5 per cent. The
result was the OIPC's first ever
backlog of cases, with 189 carried
over into 2005. The study quotes
Commissioner David Loukidelis
saying "We are now very concerned
about our ability to adequately discharge our statutory duty to provide this arms-length expert advice
and support to public bodies across
British Columbia."
The good news is that most young
people are aware of the role government transparency plays in democratic societies. UBC student Will
Beale said "I feel that if we don't have
the social infrastructure to protect us
from possible government projects
or programs that aren't representative of the people's demands, then
society is in danger of becoming ignorant towards government policies
and that's not what a true democracy
is." ft
Restoring newsroom credibility
UBC journalism professors weigh in on confidential sources in
regards to journalism ethics
by Colleen Tang
Young journalists entering news-
media have an enormous responsibility on their hands.
"My generation is entering journalism because we have a profound interest in making a difference," said Kendyl Salcito, a journalism student at UBC and editor
of the Journalism Ethics website.
"We don't want to be journalists
because we like how it's going right
now," she said. "We want to be the
instigators of change."
Thirty years ago journalism was
a simple trade like any other, she
said. "It's not like that anymore,
and it's certainly not like that to
our generation, which has begun to
seriously doubt media credibility."
According to Salcito, formal
education is an important tool for
new journalists as it relies on
familiarity with complex issues like
journalistic ethics.
"Journalism is in crisis because
no one trusts the media," she said.
"The best way to avoid that stigma
is to follow a solid code of ethics-
one that dictates how quotes,
sources...sensitive stories and
press releases are to be treated."
But questions around ethics can
be tricky, especially when it comes
to issues like source confidentiality.
According to Stephen Ward, a
UBC journalism professor, there
are three degrees of anonymity.
The first is bestowing confidentiality to those giving background information to a story, second is maintaining the anonymity of government officials, and the third is in
regards to information given "off-
the-record," which can put the
source and journalist in a difficult
Responsible journalists always
verify information given by anonymous sources to make sure that
everything they said is well-supported and that their motives for
anonymity aren't personal. Then an
agreement can be made between
the journalist and the source, he
said using himself as an example.
This can include the journalist
being "willing to keep it confidential to the point that I'll be sent in
jail, but I'll spend three days in jail
[and] that's it then I'll give out my
information, that's the extent to
where [the journalist will] go," he
Oftentimes newsrooms have
their  own rules regarding confi
dentiality, said Ward. They range
from disclosing to a few senior editors to not codes of confidentiality
at all.
"It protects [the] writer because
if someone comes back at [the
writer] and says [they] handled
this case improperly [the writer]
can at least say, 'no I consulted
with these editors. We all knew
why we were doing this,'" he said.
"And also by telling editors or senior editors they can sort of make
sure that [the writer is] not doing
anything wrong, illegal, or
improper to protect the newsroom
from bad behaviours from individual reports."
Ward warns journalists that if
they do use confidential sources
they should meet face-to-face
rather than on the Internet.
"The trouble is that anonymity
is accepted on the Internet. People
want to be able to toss off opinions
and comments without being
zeroed in and identified and so we
have to be weary of this trend and
fight against it."
"One of the things that journalism requires is a certain zone of
confidentiality for people to come
forward and blow the whistle and
not think that journalists are going
to be used [on behalf of] the state or
any party to gather information,"
said journalism professor Dan
Burnett, referring to the recent
case of Andrew Macintosh from
the National Post in which he was
pressured by RCMP to give up his
confidential source. "Ultimately the
Ontario court backed him up."
"There's a certain whistle-blowing value that people pay through
media and I'm sorry to say that in
most instances that I've had been
privy to, courts don't back it up like
the Ontario courts did," he added.
According to Burnett the problem with court involvement is that
"more often than not the judges
make [the journalist] cough up the
stuff and the result is that at least
the reporter can say, 'I did the
best I could' but it doesn't make
the source that was burned feel
much better."
"The law doesn't recognise
any...confidential privilege, for
journalists...They reserve the right
to force," said Burnett adding
that it is difficult to prove confidentiality. "Quite often these cases
fall down just because things
weren't documented properly
enough." ft *MM "Fake news* permeating
Canadian media, experts fear
by-Eric Szeto
"Fake news" may not be as prominent here as it is in the United
States, but many media experts
believe that Canadian television
media outlets are guilty of running prerecorded public relations
segments as authentic news programming.
"We know that these VNRs
[video news releases] are slickly
produced," said Alan Cassels, a
drug policy researcher at the
University of Victoria. "What we
don't know is how much of the
VNRs are actually being put onto
news programs in cable networks
across the country."
VNRs are press release new
segments made by PR companies
and distributed to TV news stations. Subject matter varies, but
the most popular stories tend to
be in the field of consumer
Cassels was unable to cite any
numbers as to how frequently
these segments are being run in
Canada, but said he is drafting a
proposal that will allow him to
properly study the issue.
Everything to this point, he
said, has been anecdotal.
According to the Center for
Media and Democracy, a media
watchdog in the United States, an
average of 10,000 to 15,000
VNRs are created every year.
The group released a report in
April that revealed 77 local TV
news stations in the United States
ran a series of 36 VNRs.
In some cases, the study said,
news programs were running
entire VNR segments untouched.
"It's the antithesis of journalism," said Diane Farsetta, a senior researcher at the Center for
Media and Democracy and coauthor of the report, which created a media maelstrom and a
subsequent investigation by
the Federal Communications
Farsetta said these unedited
news segments set a dangerous
precedent for journalism because
in most cases, the source of the
video isn't disclosed.
It is, "an inherently deceptive
public relations technique" that
misleads viewers to think it's genuine impartial reporting, she
While most of the research
Farsetta has done has focused on
the US, she said that many public
relations firms offer VNRs in
Ira Basin, a CBC radio producer, can attest to that. While working on a documentary that
involved VNRs, he stumbled
across a CBC employee who used
to work for Global in Calgary.
"She was my whistleblower,"
he said. "She spilled the beans
about how they used to just take
stuff from drug companies and
use it on the air."
Canada News Wire (CNW), one
of the largest suppliers of VNRs,
claimed that most news stories
contain, on average, 22 seconds
of VNR footage, explained Basin.
But this statistic isn't meaningful because it doesn't clarify
what portions are provided by PR
companies and what parts are
original, he said. "It's a slippery
slope and we're starting to go
down that."
David Beers, editor of The
Tyee, an online publication,
attributed the reduced budgets in
TV newsrooms to the growth of
the industry.
"In the television industry,
and in other corporate media settings, there's ever-increasing
pressure to exact more profit
from the operation," he said.
"News is just seen as another
business...and what's being eroded is the connection between the
labour-intensive reporting and
audience building."
If a VNR clip is going to be
run, it should be sourced, he
noted. "Put a disclaimer on it and
it makes everyone wonder about
it," said Beers, adding that this
also happens in print media.
Douglas Simon, the president
and CEO of DS Simon
Productions, a PR video firm
based out of New York, said VNRs
are nothing more than information that is provided to viewers.
While most of its business is US-
based, the company has provided
content to Canadian media in the
Simon wasn't sure why these
videos created such a controversy
but said, "any content that's provided to stations goes through
journalist gatekeepers before it
makes it on the air."
"VNRs can't substitute as real
news, for the very simple reason
that they are not news," he said.
"They don't become part of a
news story until a journalist
decides that it adds value to its
Gregg Carmichael, assignment
producer for CTV news in
Vancouver, vehemently denied
that CTV uses uncredited VNRs. If
VNRs are used, he said, it is
always attributed to the respective companies. "The video
may be incorporated into a story
we do but it's clearly identified
when the video comes up,"
said Carmichael. "We would go
into that story on that subject and
maybe there is some footage of
video that we could not obtain
when we did that story."
Diane Collins, a news director
for Channel M, a multicultural
station in Vancouver, echoed
Carmichael's thoughts.
"Nothing would go on unfil-
tered," she said. "Not a
snowball's chance in you-know-
where." B>
Bell takeover of CHUM sparks concerns
by Victor Liang
In a merger deal worth $1.7 billion media giant Bell Globemedia
acquired CHUM Ltd. The deal,
announced in July and pending
approval by the Canadian
R a d i o - T e 1 e v i s i o n and
Commission (CRTC), has experts
worried about the future of
Canadian media.
Business and media experts all
across the country are awaiting
the decision by the CRTC with
much debate and reservation.
Questions of journalistic objectivity, reduced market competition,
unemployment and growing public distrust of news media have
been at the center of the discussions about what the merger will
do to Canada's media landscape.
The public needs to be vigilant,
said Donna Logan, UBC journalism professor. "I think the public
should be following what's happening and monitoring the kind
of journalism that could result
from this and if they think that it's
in the public interest they should
make their voices heard."
Bell is one of the biggest media
corporations in Canada, owning
CTV and The Globe and Mail. As a
national rival, CHUM operates
City TV and numerous smaller
radio stations, local and specialty
TV stations and channels. Experts
see controversy over the concentration of ownership when the
takeover occurs.
"I recognise the business
necessity   of  doing   this,"   said
CONCENTRATION: Media mergers lead to less diversity in news, say experts, oker CHEN photo
Logan. "But I also realise the more
concentration of ownership you
have, the fewer voices you might
end up with."
Whenever competition is
removed from the marketplace, it
is not usually to the benefit of
society, said James Brander, a
Sauder School of Business professor.
"We should be very concerned
about situations where you have
private monopoly power," said
Brander. "Particularly in the
media, where in addition to being
an economic area, it also has a big
political impact."
"It's important to have an open
and free media where different
points of view are expressed,
where different types of information can be made available. If only
one or two organisations control
most of the media, that creates
potential political problems. In
my own view, Canada's concentration in media is worryingly high
and this particular merger makes
that worse," added Brander.
Brander also noted that mergers and acquisitions in themselves are actually beneficial to
the economy, as they increase
operational efficiency of services
in a market which leads to
improved living standards for
society as a whole. "But we have to
keep an eye on competition, that
the merger activity is not so anticompetitive that it creates a problem," he said.
"These kinds of mergers aren't
going away," said Logan.
"Protesting is a futile exercise,
instead the strategy is finding a
way to make things work within
the existing system."
Citizens and journalists have a
role to play in this process, Logan
"Part of the problem is that we
don't have enough public discussion about the role of the media in
a democratic society. Journalists
have to think seriously about
engaging the public and doing the
highest possible standard of journalistic excellence so that public
attitudes towards the media will
improve. Similarly, consumers
have to be vigilant, questioning
things and exposing the problems. People have more power
than they realise."
Brander and Logan agreed that
it is too early to speak about the
positives and negatives to possibly come out of this future merger.
"If problems do arise, journalists should be ready to spring to
action," said Logan, ft
Indie media
growing trend
in Vancouver
by Champagne Choquer
With its two major publications, The
Vancouver Sun and The Province, in
addition to many of its community
papers all owned by CanWest Global,
the city of Vancouver is currently one
of the most monopolistic news regions
in Canada.
But two former UBC students are
making a dent in this stronghold—in
the form of independent media.
One of the biggest independent
media sources in BC is The Tyee, an
established non-profit and independent BC-focused online newspaper.
Richard Warnica, a graduate of UBC's
masters of journalism program, and
senior editor of The Tyee feels that
independent media enables diversity
in local coverage.
"There's so many stories in BC that
aren't being told," said Warnica. "We
provide an outlet for good reporting,
which there isn't enough of when you
think of the size of Vancouver and its
position as a world class city."
A recent study by the Senate
Committee on Transport and
Communications examined the concentration of media ownership in
Canada and expressed concern for the
lack of diversity in journalism.
This study, which produced the
Final Report on the Canadian News
Media in June of this year, noted
"[there is] public interest in having a
diversity of ownership in the Canadian
news media to increase the potential
for diversity of sources of news [and]
information...the public policy goal of
encouraging a diversity of ownership
and sources of news is important."
Understanding this public need for
a variety of viewpoints, Vancouver's
independent media has expanded in
recent years, allowing for voices outside of mainstream media to be heard.
Myles Estey, UBC alumnus and editor for Capital Magazine, an online
magazine focusing on social dialogue
of news and culture said, "In the five
years that I've been involved in independent media, you find that there are
[stories] that you wouldn't find in bigger publications and I think that there
are as interesting collection of stories
that generally get left out of The
Vancouver Sun."
To further their reach, Capital
Magazine is attempting to gain a nonprofit status similar to that of The
Tyee which will aid in the magazine's
return to print. "[It has been] shown
that the non-profit model is potentially
beneficial for media, and...if your
objective is that you will only be focusing on content and that you're not
going to compromise that for advertising space, that opens up a lot of opportunity to...discuss important, contentious issues without having to
worry about who is funding the publication," Estey said.
However, both publications are
focused on using independent media
as a means to explore a variety of
ideas. "We don't have a political agenda by any means, we don't want people thinking in a certain way, we just
want to get stories that we feel aren't
being told...we want to get them out
and into the social discourse," said
This adds to the diversity of media
and involves readers more than traditional media. As Warnica notes, "the
paradigm used to be 'we have information, you consume it' now there's a lot
more flow back, which we get from the
comments section at The Tyee, it's
much more of a conversation." ft THE UBYSSEY   Friday, 20 October, 2006
'The revolution will not be televised...'
...why bother when it can be podcasted?
by Misha Warbanski
MONTREAL (CUP)-Googling the
word "podcast" today gets you about
207 million hits, while little more
than two years ago, you would have
only gotten about 24. While live audio
streaming and downloadable sound
files have been around for years, pod-
casting is a relatively new medium
for distributing sound and video.
A boon for democratic and independent media, podcasting allows
anyone with a microphone and a
computer to get their message out to
the digital world.
With well over 15,000 podcasts
available—often for free—through the
Apple website, you can download
anything from left-leaning
Democracy Now and Air America
Radio programming, to mainstream
media monolith Clear Channel pod-
casts, and explore every young audio
blogger in between.
If it sounds like podcasting is yet
another monopolised Apple invention, have no fear, other podcasts are
available and everything can be
played on almost any computer and
personal mp3 player.
When it first came on the scene,
podcasting was an esoteric e-toy
restricted to tech-sawy individuals
who understood the intricacies of
computer programming. More
recently, geeks have opened up the
scene and have become key in making the technology available to the
rest of us.
These days almost anyone can use
free, user-friendly interfaces to create
a website. Podcasting has become
similarly democratised. Audio editing software such as Audacity is free
to download and tutorials on how to
code RSS feeds—programs that allow
computers to automatically download new files from a site whenever it
is updated—are available online
through Wikipedia and html templates, just a few clicks away.
In an October 2005 article, the
Wall Street Journal downplayed the
podcast phenomenon, reporting that
only an estimated 15 per cent of
American households owned a
portable mp3 player.
But new podcasting media  is
already making an enormous impact.
The New York Times estimates that
the average "media diet" for 12 million people will include podcasts by
the end of the decade. New York public radio show On the Media gained
40,000 new listeners in just a week
after integrating podcasting into its
In Canada, the Rabble Podcasting
Network received 37,000 hits in the
two days following its official launch.
"What we're trying to do is to get
audio and podcasting out there [in a
way] that mainstream media is not
recognising," said RPN producer
Charlotte Scott in an interview after
the launch.
In order to encourage participation in podcasting projects, alternative media sites such as Rabble.ca
have eliminated the need for the
average user to have any computer
programming knowledge at all. The
site's technicians have set up a system that, once you have your sound
file ready to go, is no more difficult
than filling out an online registration
"I think we chose podcasting
because we really, really sensed its
potential for media democracy,
which is what Rabble.ca is all about,"
said Scott. The RPN now has more
than 40 podcasts available on its site.
This represents a diverse spectrum
of content from all over Canada.
Because of its freedom and low
cost, the Internet has proved useful
in strengthening the voices coming
from alternative news sources, acting
as the bridge between communities
and otherwise isolated pockets of
When CBC workers were locked
out of their offices in the summer of
2005 due to labour disputes, they did
not lose their voice. Turning to podcasting, pirate and community radio,
they were able to continue to report,
and perhaps more importantly, they
were able to report on their own
Tod Maffin was the main
spokesperson        behind CBC
Unplugged, an online weblog that
was updated by people across the
country. "Podcasting...removes the
barriers to getting on the air," Maffin
wrote  in  an  article  called  "How
Podcasting Will Save Radio."
"As long as you can build enough
of a brand to get people on your site,
you are 'on the air.' There is no station producer or news director to
Scott of RPN is convinced that the
accessibility of free speech is at least
partly responsible for making the
medium so appealing.
"For ordinary people, [it means
being] able to say what they want to
say, and what they need to say, and to
get it out in a place that anyone can
listen to it."
According to Scott podcasting and
the Internet in general has a profound effect on society. While she
acknowledged that there can be a
physical fragmentation of communities, new communities are emerging.
"[We have] to understand that
communities are no longer geographically exclusive. As a result, people can start their own identities and
start exploring things that are meaningful to them through the Internet"
Concerned more with the bottom
line and their commercial interests,
media corporations have been relatively slow to move into the podcasting world.
Clear Channel started up various
podcasts, introduced by 15-second
ads. But according to BiUboard
Magazine, the company still sees little profitability in the medium;
instead, they see it as a marketing
Worried about music pirating and
diminishing record sales, many
major media companies have limited
music to 30-second samples and
Universal Music Group "wants podcast programmers to use [Digital
Rights Management] technology to
ensure that files featuring music
have limited playback and navigation
capabilities," according to The New
York Times.
Apple is also concerned with
copyright. A group of Concordia
journalism students who wanted to
make a podcast of their weekly class
radio show available through the
Apple directory were rejected on the
grounds that the musical intro and
extro violated copyright law.
Already big businesses are moving in and attempting to set the rules
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of the game for podcasters. And while
you don't need the Apple directory to
podcast, being excluded from one of
the most widely used directories
arguably could have a negative effect
on getting your work out
Media critics like Robert
McChesney are worried about the
effect big business on media democracy, but back at Rabble.ca, Scott was
a little more optimistic.
"Those are people that assume
that the technology comes first and
then there's a social scene that
emerges out of the technology. But
it's really the other way around.
There's a society, there's a social
scene and then the technology gets
incorporated into that," Scott
explained, reminding us that podcasting is about "individuals and collectives being able to express their
own autonomy."
Rabble maintains a strict funding
policy, balancing the need to survive
on one hand, and maintain ideals on
the other.
"People use the technology
according to what their principles
are. So in that there is a danger that a
lot of large corporations are going to
podcast and make it very commercialised and commoditised, [but] that
doesn't mean that the people who
don't want it that way are going to be
forced into it." @
Campus   &   Community   Planning
Public Open House
You are invited to attend a public open house to view and comment on
development application DP 06025: St. Marks Duplexes on Lots 29 to 36 in
the Theological Neighbourhood on the site labeled "Subject Property' on the
location map below. This proposal is for 4 duplex buildings, for a total of 8
units. The land-use and density will comply with the Neighbourhood Plan
policies. Relaxation is requested for rear setbacks for all buildings, side
setbacks of Buildings 1 & 4, and overall site coverage by 1% (77 sq.m).
EM            On. g
tan              g   GAGE
Brock Hat
Date:    Thursday, October 26, 2006
Time:    5:00 p.m. -7:00 p.m.
Place:   St. Marks College, 5935 Iona Dr.
For directions to St. Marks, piease visit: www.maps.ubc.ca. More development
application information is on the Campus & Community Planning (C&CP) website:
vj    Questions: Caroline Eldridge, Land Use Planner, C & CP e-mail: caroline.eldridge@ubc.ca
,t     This event is wheelchair accessible. For more information about assistance for persons
^"     with disabilities, e-mail rachel.wiersma@iubc.ca. 10.
Editorial & Letters
Friday, 20 October, 2006   THE UBYSSEY
So why exactly did we effectively cut off public access
to government information? Was it to cover up your
Shadow Army poised to annex the Alaskan Panhondle?
Secrets and Facial Hair: The Corner Stones
of Totalitarian Regimes
The only trick up our sleeve
Every functional government
keeps tabs on its citizens.
Censuses in our junkmail and
surveys over the phone are just
two minor instances of our government knocking on our doors
to ask us what we're up to and
how we're doing. And, depending on our mood at the time, we
can either disclose our personal
information, or hang up the
phone and throw the junkmail in
the trash.
The relationship is similar
between citizens and their government. There are times when
we want information concerning
the government, more specifically, government documents.
But what do people do if they
want to keep tabs on our government? Many believe that obtaining that sort of information is as
easy as writing a letter.
However, the reality is far
from it. Legally, BC residents
have two avenues through which
they can access information
recorded and held by government agencies: the Access to
Information Act and Privacy Act
(AIAPA) at the federal level and
the Freedom of Information and
Protection Privacy Act (FIPPA) in
at the BC provincial level.
Collectively,  these  acts garner
every Canadian citizen the right
to access information from over
2,000 public agencies, including
universities, self-governing professional bodies, and Crown corporations such as ICBC and
BC Hydro.
Unfortunately, 13 years after
the FIPPA's inception, it has
grown increasingly difficult for
the average citizen to use these
policies to keep track of what
elected officials are doing
behind the scenes. The FIPPA
has accumulated so much
bureaucratic red tape it has
devolved from a valuable service
to a time-consuming and often
costly slog through paper trails.
Freedom of Information and
Privacy Association (FIPA)
founder Darrell Evans said that
since 2001 filing FIPPA requests
has become "extremely expensive, extremely slow and there
are many barriers." These
impediments have caused the
usefulness of the FIPPA to
decline drastically, consequently
causing the abandonment of
This is hardly evidence of a
provincial Freedom of
Information (FOI) system that
encourages accountability and
transparency of the government
and their dealings with private
Things aren't much better at
the federal level.
A recent national audit of the
AIAPA performed revealed that
information is still refused in
many cases. The report stated
that in requests for information
on pesticide use, health spending and crime statistics, 3 1 per
cent of them were refused. Of
those that were granted, exorbitant costs were demanded,
including a charge of $1200 for
information in Pembroke,
Ontario. According to the FIPA,
reviews of a FOI request refusal
usually takes between one and
two years.
With these costs and delays it
is no wonder that FOI's are
being filed less frequently by
average citizens. In the past four
years alone, FOI requests from
interest groups have been
slashed from 302 to 143.
More needs to be done to
encourage people to request sensitive information. And while we
know that those in possession of
these sensitive documents aren't
going to be gift-wrapping and
handing it over, the information
is too important to ignore.
Look at the most recent exam
ples. When CBC filed an FOI
request for water audits after the
Walkerton water crisis in 2001,
it revealed that three-quarters of
the drinking water on reserves
posed health risks.
A recent FOI request by the
Vancouver Sun found over 80
counts of misconduct by the
RCMP since 2005.
Closer to home, an FOI
request filed by the Ubyssey in
1995 forced the beverage giant
Coca-Cola and UBC to release the
details of their exclusivity agreement with the Alma Mater
Society. Though it cost them
nearly $40,000 in legal fees, the
former Ubyssey editors not only
made Coca-Cola unable to sub-
versively set up shop on campus
but also stopped them from signing secret agreements with other
post-secondary institutions.
The concept of access to
information was designed with a
public interest in mind and a
goal to make government more
accountable to its citizens. The
Act as it is currently practiced
allows only a limited or delayed
form of accountability. Making a
citizen wait two years to access
sensitive information is unde-
mocratice and undermines the
very nature of the Act. @
Do you think satire news (i.e. John Stewart and The Onion) educates people?
—Will Davies
Arts, 2
"Yes, satire news
educates people
that would not
watch regular
news. By making
people laugh they
have more interest
in normal news."
wfr- 't
—Ryan LaPlante
Arts, 2
"Yes, for some people entertainment
news is their only
news outlet."
—Daniel Rudmin
Engineering, 3
"Yes, satire news
gives opinions you
might not think
Psychology, 3
"I've only seen it
once, but I think
they might bring
up issues that people might not have
ordinarily thought
—Michelle Nelson
"Yes, people don't
watch the regular
news, but will
watch satire news
because it makes
them laugh."
—Coordinated by Kath Stewart and Mian Higgins
Sports spunk
As a former editor at the Ubyssey, I usually scan the latest edition and delight at the
continued mandate of the paper in providing coverage that concerns students and
gives a credible and critical voice to our
student journalists.
The sports pages, of late, however,
have been appalling. The stats in
Tuesday's issue illustrate this lack of
imagination—anyone interested in the
nuts and bolts of our varsity teams need
only log on to the official website of
Athletics, grab a copy of the cheerleading
Point, or be at the game, in which, case,
the space devoted to the points spread of
the varsity football team in the Ubyssey is
rendered useless. And postulating on the
prospects of NHL and other professional
games doesn't become a Ubyssey sports
editor—it merely shows a lack of expertise
and pointless contribution to an already
cliched discourse that could easily be vented over a beer at any local pub, rather
poured out in print.
Instead of parroting Weber's press
releases, why not try to delve into the
issues that could and do make varsity
sports relevant to the larger student body?
The majority don't attend games, have a
summary disenchantment with the fees
they have to pay, and could care less about
game stories. Volunteers cut their teeth on
these, I know, but really—they've been
done to death.
Have some spunk! Take Athletics to
task, talk about the recruitment system,
the lack of funding, the coming Olympics
and battle for facilities, the challenges of
being a student athlete, the trends in each
sport at UBC and of course, the personal
victories that usually light up and make
bearable any recounting of the action.
Otherwise, you might as well cut the
lazy, uninspired text, and make way for
the consistently fantastic photos that are
capturing the moment far better. @
-Sarah Conchie
Arts, 3 THE UBYSSEY   Friday, 20 October, 2006
on a ro
by Cheata Nao
UBC's undefeated women's rugby team
(3-0) is looking to topple the reigning conference champions the University of
Alberta Pandas, at this weekend's Canada
West finals in Lethbridge, Alberta.
Head coach Steve Tong said it will not
be an easy feat, however. Alberta has
won the tournament seven years in a
row, but with a few minor adjustments,
he is optimistic. "We have to minimise
mistakes, play smart, [and] win the physical confrontations," he said.
The T-Birds will also need to adjust to
a style of play that is faster and more
skilled than what they've faced thus far in
club play. Canada West games are also
shorter than club games; round robin
games are 50 minutes long instead of the
usual 80 minutes so it's crucial that the
Thunderbirds "take every opportunity
that is presented to [them]," noted Tong.
UBC does have a few tricks up its
sleeve, however. One of them is a talented core of veterans led by two-time
Canada West all-star and team captain
Kim Donaldson, who also happens to be
a member of Canada's national women's
rugby team. "Everything starts with her,"
said Tong, "but we also have two other
players that were Can West all-stars."
Those two players are third-year Pilar
Nunez who plays hook and fourth-year
fly half Kristen Cummings. UBC also has
a member of the BC women's senior
rugby team on their squad, fourth-year
flanker Barbra Lelj from Naples, Italy.
"We've got a great veteran core and great
veteran leadership," said Tong.
While ideally Tong would prefer to
have the tournament in April—to allow
for an entire year for the team to bond-
he noted that having the women play in
high pressure games early in the season
will "springboard further success in our
club season down the road."
UBC finished third in last year's tournament defeating the Victoria Vikes 2 7-0
in the bronze medal match, and second
in 2004. The T-bird's first game is on
Friday against the host Pronghorns, followed by two tilts on Saturday—against
the Pandas and the Vikes—before starting medal round play on Sunday. @
1 st Downs
Ciezki puts on a show at Swangard
2nd     3rd     4th     Final
by Stephen Rennick
The UBC Thunderbirds took to
the field to square off once again
with cross-town rivals SFU under
the lights of Swangard Stadium
Wednesday night. The Clan, looking to avenge their loss in last
week's Shrum Bowl, were hungry
for a big game in front of their
home crowd.
Unfortunately for the Clan it
would not be their night. The
Thunderbirds outworked SFU on
both sides of the ball, to the tune
of a 67-13 victory.
From the outset it was clear
that UBC was headed for a big
win. The Thunderbirds had a 23-
point lead by the end of the first
quarter, and refused to let up.
The 67 points established a
new UBC record for most points
in a single game. SFU found
themselves unable to defend
against UBC's running game, as
the Thunderbirds rolled over the
Clan for 511 rushing yards.
Defensively, the T-Birds once
again showed their strength,
keeping SFU's drives short as
well as forcing an interception
and sacking quarterback Jason
Marshall six times.
The weather made it an uphill
battle for both teams. What started
out as a light mist turned into a
steady cascade of rain, making it
difficult for the teams to work
under the conditions. Both teams
struggled with the elements, suffering from mistakes such as
dropped passes and fumbles. UBC
quarterback Blake Smelser threw
for only 165 yards, well below his
normal mark. Darren Wilson
meanwhile, made six catches for
129 yards and a touchdown. The
one player who did not seem to
mind the weather, was UBC running back Chris Ciezki. From the
opening snap, Ciezki was all over
the field. Once all was said and
done, he'd carried the ball 30
times for 328 yards, scoring an
unprecedented five touchdowns.
Ciezki broke several UBC records,
most notably the record for most
touchdowns in a regular season.
The record was previously held by
Akbal Singh, who scored 14 in
1998. Ciezki got his 15th
Wednesday evening, securing his
place in the UBC record books. His
five touchdowns in a single game
is also a first by a UBC player, and
it ties the Canada West record for
2b  mmm
Visit our booth Northwest
at Health Careers Interaction 2006        T<^rrit0rieS
on Octpber28&29 at the Renaissance
Vancouver Hotel Harbourside.
Meet Mi mi Gionct-Smith, Community Health Nurse from the
Sahtu Health and Social Services and other delegates ready
to answer your questions regarding your future in
the Northwest Territories.
Bring your resume,
bring a friend.
Marshall    8/21      142
most touchdowns in a game.
Ciezki was modest about his
stellar accomplishments following the game. "I'm just overwhelmed...everyone did their
assignments today, and I guess I
get the rewards for everyone's
hard work."
As UBC approaches the playoffs, every game becomes more
important. Wednesday's win, triumphant though it may have
been, is only half the battle. UBC
heads into Calgary on Sunday,
and a win there would secure a
berth in the playoffs for the
Thunderbirds. As head coach Ted
Goveia put it, "We're getting
ready for a playoff game...tonight
was the start of our playoff run."
Although UBC will be entering
Calgary with only three nights off
between the two games, the team
must feel confident after a
performance like Wednesday's.
Following Sunday's tilt with the
Dinos, UBC hosts the undefeated
University of Manitoba Bisons in
their regular-season finale on
Friday, October 27. @
Chris        30       328
LG   |
Tremblayj    1 1     1    65
Darren        f.      1   ioo
Wilson        6      |   Yl^
Chris           .          ini;
Passaglia      4      |    ■ "=>
Canada West Standings:   W
Simon Fraser
1946 - 2007
Death Of A President
In Theatres October 27
Note: We did not make the ad in the above box
our own corrections since 1918
»i fe» slirts?
604 7331402
2/54 UJ Broadway
email: kitst-shirtexpress 12
Friday, 20 October, 2006   THE UBYSSEY
Introducing Our New Special
Are vm tfa
Innovator ?
The Challenge: Tell us how
today's teens will influence the
financial services industry of
tomorrow! RBC® will bring the
five-most innovative teams to
Toronto to present their ideas to
our top executives. All five
teams will receive a cash prize!
For full details, visit www.nextgreatinnovator.com
FIRST     IFOR       YOU
® Registered trademarks of Royal Bank of Canada. RBC and Royal Bank are registered
trademarks oF Royal Bank of Canada.
Videoconferencing more doctors
Other Canadian
medical schools looking
to UBC for inspiration
by Victor Liang
UBC's videoconferencing program
is helping solve nation-wide doctor
In response to the government's call for more doctors,
UBC's medical school expanded in
2004, to create the Distributed MD
Undergraduate Program in collaboration with UNBC and UVic. The
program uses videoconferencing
to accommodate increased numbers of students and distribute
learning into rural and under-
served areas.
"I love it. With this method we
could expand our school without
having to spend lots of our
resources and expenses of having
to send instructors to the various
locations," said Majid Doroudi,
UBC medicine professor.
UBC's use of videoconferencing
for the distributed MD program
has become a model for other academic institutions, nationally and
The University of Toronto (UT)
has created a new site in Mississauga
where students will be lectured via
"There's a move to distributed
medical education of which UBC is
one of the best examples," said Jay
Rosenfield, vice-dean of undergraduate medical education at UT.
"The big thing for me is
how can the students
use that techonology
to contribute to the
knowledge base of the
-Michelle Lamberson
director of the UBC Office of
Learning Technology
"In the greater Toronto area we
are networking with a lot of the
community hospitals and sites, as
well as building a new academy in
Mississauga. [Videoconferencing]
enables students to spend more
time with a different mix of
patients...and have more training
and exposure in the community,"
added Rosenfield. "And a lot of it is
part of the move...to train more
doctors in the types of areas where
there are shortages both provincial-
ly and nationally."
Although there are concerns over
■.'.■., ■ i i I I I I
11 ii ii ii in
111111 n ii
111111 nin
111111 in
NEW METHOD OF TEACHING: Videoconferencing may become a
new trend, photo courtesy of william ovalle
the loss of interaction and increased
detachment between students and
instructors, William Ovalle, UBC
medicine professor, said that student feedback has been positive.
"If you had asked me ten years
ago, I would have given you a different answer than today, but having
done it for [three] years because of
our extended programs in Victoria
and Prince George, I'm very happy
to report that it's gone beyond my
expectations," said Ovalle. "There
are more advantages now than disadvantages as long as you do certain
things to ensure that you don't lose
the personal touch."
Michelle Lamberson, director of
the UBC Office of Learning
Technology, said videoconferencing
isn't just about delivering lectures
but also creates a community.
"That's a key thing [UBC Faculty of
Medicine] are doing with the technology," she said.
"The big thing for me is how
can the students use that technology to contribute to the knowledge
base    of    the    course,"    added
Lamberson. "As an instructor, you
should think about how you can
engage students."
"With new technology, it isn't
about the content piece as an
instructor, but how can my students share with one another and
demonstrate what they know, creating community."
-Majid Doroudi
UBC medicine professor
According to Ovalle the possibilities for dynamic and technologically advanced learning environments are limitless.
"The future is even beyond our
comprehension now, and it's bringing our institution into the 21st century, making the world smaller, making things better, and ensuring now
that our education is going to expand
even further into the province, as
well as establishing relationships
with other learning centres across
the country," he said. @
AMS tells UBC to say No to
The Alma Mater Society (AMS)
Council motioned to call on the
University not to enter into an
exclusive cold beverage agreement at the last AMS meeting
on October 11. AMS representatives cited concerns over limiting student choice, dependency
on corporate funding and lack
of competitive pricing. However,
tfihe motion did not include a
provision preventing the AMS
from entering into a similar
Council Chambers to get
The AMS will be spending
$34,000 of the Capital Projects
Acquisition and Construction
Fund to renovate the Council
Chambers. Initial plans include
new carpeting and windowsills,
wood paneling, and the addition
of electrical outlets to the table.
The majority of debate at the
council meeting focused on
what colour the Council
Chambers should be.
AMS to test VOIP
The AMS will be testing Voice
Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) on
approximately 20 phones. If the
AMS extends the service to
other internal phones they esti
mate that they could save
$100,000 in phone bills each
year. AMS Council has allotted
$4,000 to facilitate this test.
Professor nominated for
literary award
Creative writing professor Sharon
Thesen has been nominated for a
2006 Governor General's Literary
Award for her latest book of poetry. The Good Bacteria is described
by Anansi Press as "a layered
meditation on energy and endings: the irrepressible energy of
life." This is the third time Thesen
has been nominated for the
$1,500 award. @


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