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Wrecked: Mutinies and storms

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These issues are sure to wake you in your sailors’ hammock. And maybe send you running for your rum ration.

Campaign McGill

The ambitious $750-million capital campaign launched last year has surpassed its halfway mark, but we’re still waiting for over $200-million from private interest groups to wash up on McGill’s shores. With the majority of funds allocated to attracting top faculty and graduate students, undergrads can only hope some of the big bucks will flow their way.

University control

For a while now, McGill has been taking the wind from the sails of almost much everything on campus that students could characterize as “fun”: outdoor events, indoor events, stagings of naval battles, events with alcohol, events without alcohol, and any group or club that uses “McGill” in its name. But hey, do a week’s worth of excessive paperwork and you’re in the clear.

General Assemblies

In a word, last year’s GAs were problematic. While we’re sure the days of organized walkouts are behind us, the SSMU executive needs to make some changes if GAs will be an effective mechanism this year.

Montreal North

After the investigation that followed the shooting of teenager Freddy Villaneuva by police in Montreal North failed to follow police protocol, a peaceful demonstration protesting his death erupted into a violent riot. Rioters wounded a police officer in the leg, set eight cars on fire, and looted 20 stores. At the annual meeting of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police last week, criminology researcher James Drennan said the riot exposed tensions between minorities and police. Investigations and hostility ensue.

Tuition and ancilliary fees

After a 13-year freeze on in-province tuition, Quebec Premier Jean Charest allowed universities to raise it $50 every semester starting in Fall 2007, resulting in a total increase of $500 by 2012. While many student groups have strongly opposed these unfavourable winds, universities are raising international tuition $1,000 a year with little organized opposition, except at Concordia. Charest did, however, cap ancillary fee increases. McGill’s are $15 a year, the highest in the province.


An election to set the course of the U.S. is only two months away and the Canadian Prime Minister has called Parliament “dysfunctional,” hinting at an election by the end of the week. In Quebec there is an unstable provincial minority government that could erupt into an election at any time, and challengers to Montreal Mayor Gérald Tremblay’s administration will be campaigning strong until the election in November 2009.