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The Ubyssey Nov 9, 2001

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For decades^ a war in the name of oil
and gas has been waged on the people
and land of the Niger Delta. Oronto
Douglas wants it to stop. \\\\p 4. 2 Friday. November 9.2001
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Page Fridav-the Ubvssev Magazine
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Greenpeace sets sail for Qatar
Environmental group plans radio broadcast, seminars for world trade summit
by Jeremy Nelson
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Environment Bureau Chief
TORONTO (CUP)-Despite its best attempts to limit
demonstrations of protest, the World Trade
Organisation (WTO) will be forced to deal with at least
one unwanted guest when it holds its annual conference
this weekend in the small Middle-Eastern state of Qatar.
Greenpeace's 55-metre long schooner, the Rainbow
Warrior, will soon be docked in the harbour of Qatar's
capital, Doha, broadcasting on pirate radio and offering
seminars to local residents about what Greenpeace calls
the harmful effects of globalisation. The. radio broadcasts will also be available on the organisation's website.
'After the summit is over [the WTO will] be sending
out press releases about how great the event has been.
We have people on the ship with a different stoiy to tell
and we really hope people will listen to it,* said
Greenpeace spokesperson Marjorie Nichol.
The seminars on the Rainbow Warrior—presented by
an international group of economists, politicians and
workers affected by WTO policies—will also be open to
WTO conference delegates, should they choose to attend.
Nichol said that the nautical protest was organised
because of heavy restrictions facing those protesters
wishing to attend the summit Plane tickets from North
America to Qatar cost around $4000, hotel rooms are
rarely available, and few public protest actions will be
allowed in Qatar during the conference.
The lockdown comes after the 1999 WTO summit in
Seattle, where demonstrators, angry that only business
and government representatives were included in discussions, protested strongly, forcing officials to delay and
eventually cancel several items ori the summit agenda.
"We think the whole process should be open to the
public. As it is now we're not even allowed to be in
[Doha],* Nichol said.
The WTO has a mandate to increase trade around the
world. None of its agreements are formally tied to envi
ronmental improvements, and they often supercede
local laws put in place to protect the environment The
public is not allowed to attend WTO meetings, and
access for non-governmental organisations is limited.
Greenpeace wants to change that, sa;ying that the
WTO could be a positive force if it stopped the secrecy of
its meetings and adopted a key set of demands.
This weekend, Greenpeace protesters will be advocating an end to subsidies for environmentally problematic industries.
"We give huge subsidies to drill for oil, which is bad
for the environment and we don't give any subsidies at
all for [those] companies that seek to generate wind or
solar energy," Nichol said. "It should be the other way
around; we should use government subsidy policy to
encourage good behaviour, not bad.*
Nichol said that the US, in particular, should not be
able to participate in global agreements it finds convenient while ignoring others mat set global environmental
standards, such as those laid out in the Kyoto protocol,
an agreement which asks states to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.
"The US shouldn't be able to pick and choose," said
Nichol. "When there is a huge deal that allows corporations to tromp community interests around the world
they choose to go in on that, but not when they are asked
to cut their emissions. That's just not fair.*
Greenpeace is also asking that WTO policies not be
implemented without environmental assessments and
that they not be permitted to overrule local environmental laws. Greenpeace also wants to stop the patenting of lifeforms, including genetically modified seeds.
Finally, the group wishes to see precautionary principle
adopted as a matter of course, meaning that possibly
environmentally harmful industries could not operate
freely until their activities were proven safe. According
to Nichol, environmentalists must currently prove that
an action is definitely harmful before a government will
regulate it ♦
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or order online www.ticketmasterca Page Fridav-the Ubyssey Magazine
Friday. November 9.2001
AMS referendum upon us
by Sarah MacNeill Morrison
A Vote!' beer garden, a draw for free
tuition, a mass e-mail—the Alma
Mater Society (AMS) is doing everything it can to make this week's referendum meet quorum.
Today is the last day of voting in
the student society's referendum,
which asks students three questions:
if they approve of a $3 incremental
student fee increase each year for
four years running; if they accept proposed changes to the AMS bylaws,
and if they support the principle of
differential tuition.
In order for the first referendum
question to pass, a simple majority of
voters must vote yes. For the second
question—regarding the AMS
bylaws—to pass, 75 per cent of voters
must approve the changes. For each
vote to be valid, at least ten per cent
of the AMS's approximately 37,500
members must vote. The third question is a non-binding principle question which will direct the AMS' stance
in future negotaitions with UBC.
According to AMS Elections
Committee member Peter Marsh,
voter turnout this year looks good.
"We did a referendum count
today..and we were looking at about
3200 this morning,* said Marsh. "I
am expecting personally that we will
make quorum and maybe a little
" more."
A mass e-mail to UBC students
from AMS President
Erfan Kazemi seems
to have increased
awareness of the
A dog-eared, coffee-stained copy of
the AMS bylaws sits
on the counter of the
SUB polling booth-
According to people
staffing the poll,
although many students have come to
the voting booth
unaware of the referendum questions,
many were eager to
become informed
and have read
the copy of the
proposed bylaw
So far, student
voters seem to
accept the bylaw
changes and the
increased student
"I basically supported everything
that was written
down," said first-
year Agricultural
Sciences student Yvette Chuang.
"I voted all yes for all three,"
said third-year international relations student Jeff Mackenzie.  "I
.-.* ■..., iiuiHi' rm
POLLING GLEE! Jordana Laporte (left), Sha-ShaToth and Michael Jones happily do referendum stuff, nic fensom photo
thought the student fee increase
wasn't a big deal. It was a small
increase for a big gain.
"Plus, I'm only going to be pay
ing about $6 of it, so I didn't feel
too inclined to disagree, and I
understood the reason they needed
to change the bylaws," he said.
The AMS has spent $23,500 on
this year's referendum. Most of
that money was used to pay
poll clerks. ♦
Bank of Montreal to leave the SUB in the spring
-           by Chris Shepherd
Looking for cash in the SUB? Reports that the
Bank of Montreal will be vacating its spot in
the basement of the student building mean
students will have to get their money
The bank, citing a desire to be located in a
newer space, is planning to move to the
newly developed commercial area in the village this spring.
"This [new location] will provide a much
brighter and more up-to-date facility for
both our employees and our customers,"
said Laurie Grant, senior manager for
media and public relations at the Bank of
Montreal. "We do have new computer systems that require more wiring and we've
had some interesting dilemmas in the past
with [the SUB] location with different types
of flooding events."
However, since the Alma Mater Society
(AMS) has not yet received official notice of
evacuation from the bank, its long-term plans
for the bank's current location are still
"One thing that's always been talked about
is having an entrance from...those stairs all
the way through to the lower level," said
Mark Fraser, AMS vice-president, administration. "In terms of filling in with other
groups, it's still really preliminary so we
haven't really formed too many plans yet"
But while the bank has confirmed its
plans to move, its leases on the space in the
SUB do not expire until 2004.
The Bank of Montreal has been in the SUB
since 1968, and leases its space from both
the university and the AMS. The bank paid
UBC $2 million for 6000 square feet of its
property in 1968, and pays the AMS $2 5,000
annually for an additional 1600 square feet
"I don't know what [the real estate department of the bank] is going to be doing with
the site. [It] would more than likely want to
be able to lease it out to someone else,"
said Grant
According to AMS Business Manager
Bernie Peets, if the bank wants to sublet the
space, the new residents must be approved
by both UBC and the AMS.
Rumours last week suggested that the
Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking
Corporation (HSBC) might move into the
Bank of Montreal's SUB space, but it is still
unclear whether this will happen.
"No decision has been made regarding
opening a branch at UBC," said Ernest Yee,
senior director of public affairs at HSBC.
Students who use the bank are upset
about the inconvenience it's move will cause.
"It's going to be really inconvenient
...going down to the village. I only go there
once in a while," said Alvaro Reyes, a second-
year chemical engineering student "If I need
to get money, I like to come here because I
won't have to pay a service charge."
Andy Lo, a third-year Science student, was
not as bothered.
"I don't use the Bank of Montreal, so it's
not a big deal for me," he said. He didn't
think it would be a big deal for students using
the bank either.
"I think if they just have an ATM it should
be fine. It seems that's what most of the students here use," he said. ♦
International students still angry over lack of consultation
by Dennis Wang
Despite another attempt by the university to consult with international students regarding the implementation of a 12 per
ci'nt tuition fee hike, students are still disappointed with the
opportunities to give input.
Last Monday, Neil Guppy—the associate vice-president of
academic programs—and Byron Hender—the executive coordinator for the vice-president, students office—met with international students at the Buchanan Penthouse and announced a
recently passed resolution to increase tuition fees for undergraduate international students" from $13,830, or $461 per
ci edit, to $ 15,480, or $516 per credit
Although current international students won't experience
Ihe tuition increase until the summer of 2003, incoming students will pay the new rates starting next summer.
"The administrators' purpose [at Monday's meeting) was to
-ct us know how the fees were going to be implemented/ said
Regina Lyakhovetska, an international graduate student from
Ihe Ukraine. "They gave us a schedule, already written, a schedule in which we had no proper input'
Lyakhovetska said she was concerned about the lack of
voice on campus for international students. She said she was
confused as to why a university that considers itself an international community would exclude international students
I'rom its decisions.
"We were not given an opportunity to make input into how
'-he' fees are going to be implemented," she said. "We have
■ibsolutely no influence in anything, not on the increase itself
or on its implementation. AD they did was notify us on what's
happening, and I don't see how they're going to deal with our
concerns, if they're going to deal with Lhem at alL"
But Guppy emphasised that international students are
clearly informed when first admitted to UBC, that the university may increase tuition fees to offset a reduction in the
provincial grant
"The Board [of Governors] is implementing this increase to
ensure that the university continues to recover its costs of educating international undergraduate students, and by doing so,
is consistent with the university's commitment not to use
provincial grants to subsidise their education," Guppy said.
Students such as Gaia BaracettL a first-year Arts student
from Italy, believe that the increase should have been made in
annual increments instead of a sudden, steep hike.
"{International students] are already paying so much, and it
would have helped if we could have known about [the fee
increase], and had a chance to, at least, prepare for any
increases," she said.
Hender, however, said that the fee increase is necessary
since international students are not currently paying the full
cost of their education.
"If international students don't pay their full cost, it really
means that domestic students are subsidising the international students. [Raising fees is] not something that we wanted to
do; it's something that we were forced to do by circumstance,"
he said. "The fact of the matter is that somebody has to pay
the price."
He also said that UBC is certainly not targeting internation
al students, and that UBC has adopted a policy to welcome new
and existing international students.
"While it might seem incongruous to charge full fees, we
also made an earlier statement to say that we really value international students as a part of the learning experience, and that
we want more international students to come to UBC," he said.
But Anoop Shankar, a first-year Science student from India,
believes that the tuition fee hike and ihe official UBC statement
promoting international student recruitment contradict
each other.
"By raising the costs of students, you actually discourage
them from corning, not encourage them. Students in the future
will look twice before they decide whether to come. Costs are a
very important factor," Shankar said.
Some students, such as Alex Kamau, a first-year Arts student from Kenya who initially attended Monday's meeting to
question the increase in fees, conceeded to the changes by the
end of the meeting.
"I don't think the meeting would have made any difference
because they already decided to raise the fees...and it's basically a done deal," he said. "Besides, I came here because UBC
is a renowned institution."
On Wednesday night, a motion was passed at the Alma
Mater Society Council meeting to appoint a commissioner to
represent international student interests. This is the first step
the current Council has taken to fulfill its election mandate to
increase international student representation on campus. ♦
—with files from Ai Lin Choo --p-
Fridav. November 9.2001
Page Friday-the Ubyssey Magazine
Friday. November 9.2001
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Nigeria's top environmental human rights
lawyer speaks out on oil ami the Niger Delta
n 1976, Oronto Douglas was just a ten-
year-old boy. Born and raised in the
small village of Okoroba, in the Niger
Delta region in southern Nigeria, Oronto
found his world small. A fisherman's son, he
was never in want of food or comfort Hunger
was not common in his community—the land
provided for all. They were enjoyable times
for Oronto, the days when he would fish with
his father and walk to the farm with his mother to gather crops.
But then things changed.
That same year, Oronto left his small village to live with his uncle in the southwestern
part of Nigeria so he could attend school. His
visits home were limited to the summer and
different breaks throughout the school year.
Each time he returned home, more and more
changed. The once happy, comfortable village
of Okoroba became less and less recognisable
to him as the wonderful place of his childhood memories.
"Returning home to lhe Delta, to the village, my homeland, to notice that the water
was no longer the water that I knew—polluted, no more fish. The land no longer growing
the crops that I know to be good crops. And
seeing the general poverty and hopelessness
and helplessness...plastered on the faces of
all that I see—it was heartbreaking,* says
But what was behind the changing face of
this village community?
As Oronto learned, many villages around
Okoroba had long been experiencing these
same problems. And the problems were
being attributed to environmental degradation and uneven economic development
from the oil and gas development of Royal
Dutch Shell.
Royal Dutch Shell first moved into Nigeria
in 193 7, when the country was still under the
rule of the British government The company
operated in close cooperation with the colonial government and in 1960, when Nigeria
became independent, it was able to maintain
the same level of influence in local affairs, as
the new government depended highly on the
revenue received from the oil company.
In terms of natural resources, the Niger
Delta—with its extensive forests, abundant
wildlife, and fertile agricultural land—is one
of the world's richest areas. But since 1960,
when Royal Dutch Shell, in cooperation with
the military dictatorship of Nigeria, began
drilling for oil in the region, more than $30
billion worth of oil has been pumped out,
leaving in its trail a plague of poverty and pollution that has caused thousands of local people to become environmental refugees.
As the years passed, with more and more
oil leaving the Niger Delta, conditions
became worse and worse for the local population, says Oronto.
"First, I noticed that the river was not flowing naturally as it used to. I noticed that a lot
of the crops that I was used to were not there.
I noticed that there was a lot of talk about
disharmony and internal division. There was
so much talk about oil yet the oil money was
not there," he says. "There was talk about pollution and illnesses that were not there at the
time. The whole talk was about hopelessness
and frustration and destitution. And it was
really very heartbreaking."
ooking around him at the products of
injustices experienced by the village '
[communities, Oronto felt compelled
to make a change. And in a situation where
the law was constantly being used against the
people, Oronto believed that becoming a
lawyer himself might help turn the tables.
"I went to law school because I see law as
an instrument of social engineering. I see law
as a tool with which we can change society for
the better. I don't see law as a conduit pipe
through which you can amass wealth. I see it
as one vehicle through which we can keep
ourselves together as a people, as a society,
and make progress. So I went to law school in
this strategy to contribute to human
progress," he says.
While attending law school, Oronto
became president of the Civil Liberties
Organisation, the largest human rights organisation in Nigeria. Through his work there he
was able to familiarise himself with a lot of
the different injustices occuring in Nigeria at
the time.
"When I left law school, I felt that I should
get involved much more practically in terms
of deploying legal strategies to help change
society because I noticed that the whole world
is revolved around legalism. If an oppressor
wants to take your land, he points to a law. If
some dictator wants to emerge, he points to a
law. If a corporation wants to pollute your
water and take away your land in collaboration with the oppressive regime that we have
in Nigeria, they point to laws. And I felt that if
they're going to point to unjust laws, it rests
on us to overthrow those unjust [laws] and
[create] just laws that will help create a society of fairness, of justice, of equity," he says.
According to Sid Tan, the communications officer for the Ogoni Solidarity Network,
Oronto is "Nigeria's leading environmental
human rights lawyer," a reputation gained
from his work with the different ethnic communities of the Niger Delta. In particular,
Oronto has helped the Ogoni people, an ethnic community of about 500,000 people, in
its attempts to assert its rights in the face of a
repressive military regime and the business
practices of Royal Dutch Shell in the oil-rich
^i ince Royal Dutch Shell first struck oil in
the Niger Delta in 1956, the environment and economy of the country have
been in steady decline. Oronto says that irresponsible practices on the part of Shell-
including gas flaring (the ignition of gas in the
atmosphere), oil spillage, indiscriminate construction of canals, laying dangerous high-
pressure oil pipelines above ground, and pollution of water sources—have degraded the
land and left many local people destitute.
The line between Royal Dutch Shell and
the local security forces has been often
blurred in the oil-rich Niger Delta. Nigerian
police in the region have been lent to the oil
company in the past, which, until the early
1990s, financed the purchase of the police
force's weapons. In one incident in 1990,
Shell called the Mobile Police Force for security. After a clash in which a policeman was
killed, the police massacred 80 villagers and
burned 495 houses, according to a government report
"Essentially what we see in these communities," says Oronto, "is destruction of the
base of production, destruction of that harmonious spirit that keeps the communities
together, and a general harassment of the
people. Therefore, what you see on the faces
of the people is fear. Fear from the violence of
the guns of the military, which have been propelled and supported by the oil company."
While Royal Dutch Shell's operations
bring in more than 40 per cent of the
Nigerian government's revenue, local communities have not received a fair share of oil
royalties and have received Utile compensation for the devastation. So, despite the
by Julia Christensen
incredible oil and gas wealth of the Niger
Delta, much of the local population remains
extremely poor, often lacking basic amenities
such as running water and sanitation facilities.
In 1995, Oronto was part of the legal
team that represented Ken Saro-Wiwa,
leader of the Movement for the Survival
of the Ogoni People (MOSOP), an organisation fighting against the environmental and
social devastation plaguing the Niger Delta by
the government and its close ties with Royal
Dutch Shell
On November 10, 1995, the Nigerian government executed Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight
other activists who fought Shell and the government for environmental clean-ups and
Ogoni rights. The men were convicted of
murder in a sham trial that Shell never criticised. Two days before the executions. Shell
urged that the sentences be carried out on
humanitarian grounds.
Discussing Ken Saro-Wiwa's murder is
still difficult for Oronto, who met Saro-Wiwa
when he was a student in law school. The
pain, he says, "will always be there."
"I met Ken in 1989 when I was editor-in-
chief of a magazine through the university
press...He had a [political] television pro-
gram...which every Nigerian turned on their
television to watch every night at 8pm. And
we felt we should profile him...so we went to-.!
see him in 1989 in his office. At that time, he"
spoke about his struggling for us young ones
and in a couple of years we were going to see,
things were going to be better. Ayear later, he
set up MOSOP in 1990....We became very
involved," he says.
When Oronto finished his university
career in 1993, he was asked by the Civil
Liberties Organisation to lead a team of
investigators in documenting what was happening to the Ogoni people.
"The militaiy dictatorship had unleashed
incredible violence on the Ogoni people,"
says Oronto. "We felt like we were face to face
with the nakedness of oppression. After that,
there was no turning back, because helping
the Ogoni was helping all the other oppressed
ethnic nationalities within the Niger Delta
and also helping other people around the
world who might be similarly affected by the
activities of the transnational corporation as
it was happening in our communities in the
Niger Delta."
Saro-Wiwa's murder only intensified
Oronto's conviction in the struggle for environmental and human rights in the Niger
And Oronto wasn't alone. Across the
world, in Vancouver, a group of people heard
about Saro-Wiwa and the Ogoni people and
were appalled. So appalled, in fact, that they
launched a Vancouver-wide anti-Shell campaign that eventually resulted in the creation
of the Ogoni Solidarity Network.
Beginning on October 27, 1996, 76 consecutive weekly rallies at Shell stations were
held in Greater Vancouver. The organisers in
solidarity with the Ogoni people helped to
stop a proposed five-year $30 million Shell
petroleum products contract with Vancouver
and surrounding municipalities in 1997.
And it is for these actions in solidarity
with the people of the Niger Delta that Oronto
Douglas was in town last Tuesday.
Vancouver was Oronto's first stop on
tour for a book he recently co-
authored titled Where Vultures Feast
Shell, Human Rights, and Oil in the Niger
Delta. The book was written as an attempt to
bring the voices of the Niger Delta people to
the world. Sponsored by the Sierra Club of
Canada, Amnesty International, Canadian
Auto Workers (CAW) and Communications,
Energy and Paperworkers (CEP), Orojito
decided to make Vancouver the first stop on
his North American tour to show his gratitude for the actions of local citizens in the
campaign to raise awareness of the strife of
Ogoni peoples.
He also came to ask a favour. That is, that
people in Vancouver, and across the world,
continue to act
"While the people of the Niger Delta have
been bearing the heavy burden that comes with
fighting for environmental and human rights,
there has not been a corresponding uprising in
the rest of the world in practical terms to these
issues. There had been emotional support,
there has been expression of support from
groups like Amnesty International and Ogoni
Solidarity Network [who] have taken to the
streets which has helped to raise awareness of
the issues," Oronto says.
"We need to look at the issue of oil...What
is this resource that is now holding the world
to ransom? Is it possible for us to start to
think of a shift so that human rights will not
be violated, so that the planet earth can be
protected, so that tomorrow's generation will
not blame me and you for not doing anything?" he asks.
The aim of the tour, says Don Wright,
regional development coordinator for BC
and the Yukon, "is to raise awareness, but
beyond that, to give people the information
they need to act...We're interested in more
than just letting people know what's going
on, we're also wanting them to take
action...We're hoping that people take the
information they hear today home with them
and tell other people and figure out how they
can act in response to the human rights
abuses.in Nigeria arid elsewhere."
Oronto adds that there is no room for neutrality when it comes to human rights and
environmental degradation. No one, he says,
can afford to remain neutral in the struggle
for justice, because "if you are neutral, then
you are collaborating with the continuation of
' n March of 1997, Royal Dutch Shell, the
world's largest oil company, issued a set
. of business principles that called for
respect of human rights "in line with the legitimate role of business." Shell promised that it
would consult with local groups before beginning sensitive projects. It also stated that it
would require managers to report on
whether operations complied with human
rights criteria. :
The gesture was an attempt by Shell to
make wrongs right But the host government's cooperation is also needed in recognising human rights. And even though the
old Nigerian dictatorship was replaced in
May 1999 by a self-described "civilian" government, Oronto says "nothing has
changed...absolutely nothing."
The new government, he says, "is a military government without the uniform...They
are all ex-generals. They have changed their
faces and are saying 'we now have a civil
regime' and it's just not true."
A shift in the way we think is necessary,
says Oronto. Big business depends on consumers, and if we, as consumers, do not
demand that businesses respect human
rights and care for the environment in their
practices, then things will never change.
"What is important should not be profit, it
should be people." ♦
'*"*. '
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PEOPLE BEFORE PROFIT: Oronto Douglas wants human rights to come first, nic fensom photo I Friday. November 9,2001
Page Fridav-the Ubvssev Magazine
Duncan M. McHugh
Ai Lin Choo
Sarah MacNeill Morrison
Ron Nurwisah
Scott Bardsiey
Julia Christensen
Laura Blue
Nic Fensom
Hywel Tuscano
Graeme Worthy
Alicia Miller
The Ubyssey Is the official student newspaper of the
University, of British Columbia. It is published every
Tuesday and Friday by The Ubyssey Pubfications 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.
The Ubyssey \_ afounding member of Canadian University
Press (CUP} and adheres to CUFs guiding principles.
All editorial content appearing in The Ubyssey \s the properly 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.
Letters to the editor must be under 300 words. Please
include your phori'e 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 tospace.
"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.
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 wiB 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, BC. V6T 1Z1
tel: (604) 822-2301
fax: (604) 822-9279
web: www.ubyssey.bc.ca
' e-maik feedback@ubyssey.bc.ca
Room 23, Student Union Building
advertising: (604) 822-1654
business office: (604) 822-6681
fax: (604) 822-1658
Fernie Pereira
Karen Leung
Shdlene Takara
"X-X-X? What does thai mean?" asked Dennis Wang as he wandered
in to the Erotic Emporium. Scott Bardsiey was at the counter trying
to clarify exactly where those beads were supposed to go, while Rob
NurwisaK smiled knowingly and stroked his silken Annals or
American Literature lest' "This is creejjy,* thought Sarah MacNeill
Morrison as she wandered towards the squirrel costumes. Amongst
the fun fur, Kim Koch was busily at work making Village Kitty costumes— there was a Kathy Deering leather-daddy kitty, a Rob
Stotesbury-Leespn construction-worker kitty, and, most importantly, there was Graeme Worthy dressed as a sailor kitty. Suddenly
Alicia Miller burst through the door and yelled, "lhat soccer goal
was no mistake, I'm playing for the other team, chumps!" The
shock of this statement made Ai Lin Choo drop the bottle of lube
she was holding, causing Chris Lazaroff to slip and slide to where
Chris Shepherd was signing copies of hiB book Even More Dirty
HaikuM at the back of the store. Nic Fensom stood in the Helen
Eady nudie picture section, whispering sweet secrets into Julia
Christensen's ear. Nic's comments prompted Julia to say something unimaginably obscene that simply can't be repeated here.
From the SM section, Duncan McHugh could be heard telling Sara
Young, "It's too long, trim, trim, trim!" Laura Blue looked on the
sordid scene with disgust and informed eveiyone that she fell sick
and was leaving. "Can I come, can I come?!' Hywel Tuscano begged
as he bounced up and down excitedly,..,
Catada Post Sataa ApaaroMt NtantMr 0732141
\VS KSSfrtt faabiy.airioT K-dC We WabZpl
Government - logic ~ the Liberals
We didn't thitik that the Liberals could get any
worse, but they've sunk to a brand new low: targeting women and children.
Bringing a child into this world and then
raising it to maturity is one of the biggest
responsibilities that an individual can have.
Children require love, attention and money to
provide for their needs. It's a tough undertaking for two people, and even more difficult for
a single parent. But if recent policies proposed
by BC Human Resources Minister Murray Coell
go into effect, single mothers in this province
may find themselves in a tougher situation.
Coell and the BC Liberals argue that single
parents should be forced to seek employment as
soon as their child turns one. Currently, single
parents on welfare can claim benefits until their
youngest child turns seven. The government
considers this change a 'cost-saving' measure
and points out that the policy change will put BC
in line with the rest of the provinces.
But while grounded in the dogma of fiscal
responsibility, cutting welfare to single parents
is ultimately a policy that ignores social, respon
sibility, and it may eventually condemn these
parents and their children to lives of poverty
and suffering.
In July 2001, the provincial government
quietly announced its plan to cancel the NDP's
universal child care plan next year. The NDP
plan subsidised child care tp a relatively affordable $ 14 a day, giving parents a chance to go to
work without worrying about their children. At
the same time, the Liberals also cut $10 million from programs geared to retrain welfare
Add all of this up and what you get is a government hostile to single parents and their children. Children aged two to seven require not
only supervision, but also guidance, from a parent Experts and child advocate groups point out
that children who do not receive parental care
during their early years often suffer from learning and behavioural disorders in later life.
Forcing parents to leave toddlers at home is
The Liberal government doesn't provide
viable alternatives to single parents looking for
work,. Cancellation of child care subsidies
means that single parents will have to find
alternatives to quality daycare, or simply stay
home because they cannot afford it. With the
cuts to retraining and skill development programs, even parents who want to find work
may find it impossible.
Minister Coell and the BC government
argue that this reform will merely bring BC in
line with other provinces. But is this something
that we want?
Women and child, poverty statistics in this
country are nothing to be proud of. According to
a study conducted last year by the Canadian
Centre for Policy Alternatives, 56 per cent of single mothers have incomes below the poverty
line—a figure that has not changed significantly
since the 1960s. ;
The provincial government's policies do
nothing to solve these crucial problems. In fact,
they add to them. By making the lives of single
parents and their children more difficult, the
Liberals are displaying open contempt for the
sustainability of this province. ♦
In times like these, what is the function of a university?
 by Michael Baumann
There has been quite some hype
about Sunera Thobani's characterisation of the United States as "powerful global forces unleashing prolific levels of violence all over the
world." In spite of the fact that most
people probably have not actually
read Thobani's hardly original
speech but instead relied on the
extractions and interpretations of
some middleman, notably newspaper columnists, her remarks created outrage in at least some parts of
the public.
But why? As David Beers's op-
eds in The Vancouver Sun have
shown, similar opinions expressed
by well-respected journalists
remained largely ignored. I assert
that the reason for this inequality in
responses is that Thobani is an
assistant professor at UBC, and academics should know better.
Suddenly, there are parents
fearing that exposure to unconventional or controversial opinions in
classrooms will weaken the
morale of their university-attending children. There is the odd,
retired UBC professor asking
tenure committees—the sword of
. Damocles that hangs over the head
of every transiently hired academic—to consider inappropriate
(inappropriate to whom?) remarks
in their decisions about perma
nent employment. And there is
even a parking-lot manager getting
media coverage for his suggestion
that financial donors contributing
to universities should have a say in
academic appointments.
If the situation were not so sad
we could actually have a good
laugh about these suggestions. A
university cannot be the whore of
public opinion, and manufactured
consent will certainly not resolve
the issue of terrorism. To the contrary, the purpose of a modern
must be, as
stated in UBC's
Trek 2000
vision, "to provide a learning
that will inspire and enable individuals to grow intellectually,
recognise their social responsibilities, be prepared to live and work
in a global environment, and
achieve personal fulfillment.'
But this learning environment
cannot stop at the gates of the university. Academics have to provide information not only to their
students, but also to the general
public. They have to substantiate
and refute assertions through
facts. And it is their responsibility
to jolt the public out of self-righteous complacency by providing
different perspectives.  This is
especially important with respect
to issues that involve large uncertainties wjien there is no single
'true' answer.
For example, since the
September 11 terrorist attacks,
many politicians have been very
successful in muddling causation
and moral justification.
Consequently, intellectuals have
the responsibility of untangling
the web of banned questions: In
order to stop terrorism, we have
to understand its causes and we
have to anticipate the
effects any of
our actions
will have on
these causes.
communication is critical. It is
important, especially in times like
these, that academics do not
assume an ivory-tower attitude,
with all its esoteric language and
rituals, but, rather than wait until a
journalist finajly notices their existence, proactively reach out to the
So is UBC doing a good job?
Apart from the obligatory flag at
half-staff and some memorial gatherings there is not much to be
heard from UBC administration or
faculty. And even the Liu Centre
for the Study of Global Issues,
which       boasts       that       its
"attention...will be focused on the
causative factors of [global] influence," seems to rather dwell on an
earlier-built reputation of its director and CEO, former Minister of
Foreign Affairs, Lloyd Axworthy.
Fortunately, there are the students. While I was shocked about
their initial indifference to the terrorist attacks, after a refractory
period of a couple of days, I noticed
that between classes many students
were engaged in serious discussions about terrorism and its ultimate causes. And then, it was a
chilling sight when a group of students staged a 'die-in' against US
attacks in Afghanistan, and you had
to walk around or over 'dead' bodies to get your coffee.
So where does this all leave us.
If nothing else, Thobani has contributed to, if not triggered, a discussion of wider issues of concern
to society. UBC administration
remained suspiciously quiet. But
many students did their best not to
accept a kind of conflict resolution
for the 21st century that does not
even reach the sophistication of
Machiavelli's 500 year-old guide
on acquiring and maintaining
political power. We could have
done worse. ♦
—Michael Baumann is a postdoctoral fellow at the University of
British Columbia Page Fridav-the Ubvssev Magazine
part of the Vancouver Storytelling Festival
at the First Nations House of Learning
Nov. 3
Friday. November 9.2001
by Ron Nurwisah
Storytelling is one of the oldest professions on Earth. Before books or
radio or television existed, people
gathered together to listen to stories.
It makes sense then that stories are
an integral part of every culture.
The stories told at Saturday's
event. Stories from the Mists
of Time, reminded the listen-,
ers why stories are so,
important. They teach,
moralise, warn of vice and J
danger, but above all, they j
Take,   for  example,   a'
story from Toronto storyteller Lome Brown of a beautiful goddess, turned into a fly'
and forced to live in our world'
as a mortal. As he spoke. Brown,
an unassuming, ordinary-looking
man, became a bard. He transported
the audience to an Ireland free of
conflicts, petty squabbles or war, an
Ireland populated instead by gods,
beautiful maidens, and wise and
noble kings. It was saddening to
leave Brown's idyllic story-world.
The next storyteller. Sherry
Tanaka, linked the distant past to an
event in more recent history. She
told a tale of an Ainu hero, beheaded
by the Japanese for defending his
people, the indigenous inhabitants of
Japan. She compared this to the
bombing of Nagasaki and, in particular, to the beheading of statues at a
Nagasaki church. . /
Tanaka's story explores the
strange duality that tales have:
they change and transform themselves as cultures change; yet, at
the core, there is often something ^
that is ultimately immutable.
The same could be said for
Victoria Beatty's Nordic tale about a
man named Otar, a simple villager in
a dispute over a patch of land. With
the help of the goddess Freya, he
recognises that no one truly owns the
land and that he is merely its steward. This environmental tale was told
long before Silent Spring and David
But by far the most entertaining
story was a hilarious Cree tale told by
Art Napoleon which explains why
dogs sniff each other when they
meet Napoleon followed this
up with a serious song about
alcoholism and living on the
reserve, but somehow his
light-hearted tale was more
This event, organised by the
Vancouver Society of Storytelling,
seems so simple but does something
that is so important for keeping one
of the great human traditions alive.
Storytellers can provide comfort and
solace. They can tell us where we
come from and give us new insight
into lhe world. On Saturday night,
I was reminded once again of
these timeless truths. ♦
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produced by Paul Mercs Concerts & The Vogue Theatre    www.umbilicofbroffiers.com    www.voguetheatre.com Friday. November 9.2001
Pane Friday-the Ubvssev Magazine
frfc^G Trfji hits Richard's
with Hot Little Rocket and I Kill My
Conscience At Times
at Richard's on Richards
Nov. 4
Though it's only been five years since Eric's
Trip broke up, I couldn't help but feel old
when I realised I'd be seeing the reunion tour
of a band I loved in high school. Should I still
care about the shoegazer grunge that comforted me in those cardigan days? What has
changed since the Sub Pop era? What has happened to indie rock?
I arrived in time to catch the end of the
set of one of two opening bands, I Kill My
Conscience At Times. For those 12 minutes,
the local duo clearly demonstrated the metamorphosis of underground pop. Back in the
summer of 1995,1 had a favourite local tape
called J killed my cat, a super lo-fi job by a
fellow named Jif. Here on stage was that
same jif, still playing introspective songs
with a DIY feel, but with the addition of keyboards, guitar and a sampler. It was the
same songwriting style I had heard years
ago, presented in a package that could
appeal to a wider audience. My favourite of
these   songs  began   with   a   William   S.
*v cg^MiD^ _j&_zms3©[FiF
-i> .if*
* 'fc.. '        ■ .-
Burroughs sample and featured atmospheric guitar suggestive of Neil Young's score for
Dead Man. I expect their record to be my
new headphones-at-bedtime favourite.
Next, Hot Little Rocket caught the crowd's
attention with a cover of the Television's
'Marquee Moon." I was excited by the band's
Chapel Hill-influenced sound at the beginning
of the set, but the lack of variety in the song-
writing soon bored me. The singer employed
the kind of strained delivery I often love, but
without the charming lyrics that usually
accompany such a style, it sounded too affected. That negativity aside, if you're still mourning the death of the Archers of Loaf, you'll
probably love this band.
As Eric's Trip began their set with "Need,'
the opening track from the Peter EP, I was
shocked at how tight the band was. Sure, if
had to help, that this was the end of the tour,
and Richard's on Richards does have great
equipment, but after hearing the recently
released The Eric's Trip Show live album, I
was expecting the New Brunswickan band to
be almost sloppy. How wrong I was! After
classics like "Listen* and "Happens All the
Time," the effects of nostalgia proved to be
too much for some
in the near-full club.
How long had it
been since I'd seen
a mosh pit? Why
does the biggest guy
always step on my
feet? I guess not that
much has changed
after all.
Highlights of the
later part of the set
included "My Bed is
Red' and "Frame/
one of the few
, songs with Chris
Thompson on lead
vocals. After the set
ended with
"Sunlight,' we were
treated to an encore
..-"•""I   !
ARE YOU UNDER THERE, JULIE? Julie Doiron (and her hair)
mastered the low end last Sunday night, kim koch photo
that opened with the prettiest song of the
set—'Allergic to Love,' featuring Rick White
and Julie Doiron harmonising beautifully—
and closed with the heaviest—a cover of a
Bad Religion song from How Could Hell Be
Any Worse? The real highlight of the night.
however, wasn't a song, but Julie's declaration that the Vancouver crowd was neck in
neck with Montreal's for the best of the
tour. For Vancouver's notoriously unresponsive fans to inspire such praise proves
that nostalgia is a mighty powerful thing. ♦
' '-    READ  IT TOES DAY 3 &   FRI DAY 3. [next week: Jved.]
Lanqara Grads Get Jobs
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