C/O Don Craig

True advocacy entails more than just empty words

By: Ardena Bašić, Contributor

cw: abuse, neglect

Given the increased attention on human rights issues and the overall mistreatment of the Indigenous population, reconciliation has gained an increase in discussion in many institutions. 

Professors and leaders are now acknowledging the ownership of the land they work and live on. The orange shirt has become a symbol of support for victims of the residential school system. Political leaders are making promises to address the issue of water advisories in Indigenous communities and inequities in education and housing. 

While these symbolic actions exemplify desires to make positive changes, they are still only symbolic acts. Whether these intentions lead to actual change is contingent on whether leaders and members of society translate their intentions and words into tangible action.

Advocacy may very well begin with words, promises and acknowledging mistakes and atrocities of the past. However, as it pertains to the issues that many marginalized and oppressed groups such as the Indigenous population of so-called Canada experience, words represent only the preliminary step in building a better world.

Both Stephen Harper and Justin Trudeau have given formal apologies to the Indigenous community in regards to the residential school system. In 2021, Canadian catholic bishops also communicated their remorse for the role of religious bodies in the residential school system. Unfortunately, the Catholic Church and Pope have not followed suit. Calls for the church to take accountability for its role in the residential school system became widespread this past year given the many bodies of Indigenous children found in unmarked graves across Canada in what used to be residential schools. 

Some action has been taken on the part of the Canadian federal government to follow up on their apologies and address the calls to action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. For example, the government has budgeted for their intent to address the lack of access to clean drinking water, develop better health and social services on and near reserves and contribute to preserving Indigenous languages. 

Moreover, Sept. 30, 2021 marked the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. This day sought to commemorate the victims of the residential school system and entailed memorials and other events held across the nation. 

There are also calls for institutions to remove statues and names of people who were involved in the residential school system. For example, Ryerson University will be changing its name, given its eponym, Egerton Ryerson, was an important architecture in designing the residential school system. However, changing an institution’s name is only a symbolic act and must be followed by more tangible action to support reconciliation and contribute to social progress. 

When Stephen Harper apologized to Indigenous communities years ago, he failed to fund significant projects like the Aboriginal Healing Foundation. Justin Trudeau’s follow up was equally as inadequate, as the campaign promises he made to Indigenous communities during his 2015 election campaign have still not been fulfilled as of publication. 

There are still water advisories in place and the presence of inadequate infrastructure and services across Indigenous communities despite promises to address these issues. In fact, government funding for awards that serve to honour leaders in Indigenous communities has decreased. It is clear the government wants to take accountability of its past actions and do its work in laying the foundation for reconciliation, but this is not followed by proper, tangible action.

Only when tangible actions are taken after communicating an intent to do so will greater equity become a possibility. It is time Canadian society and its government follow suit on their promises and intents and invest more towards showing accountability and working towards reconciliation. 

In sum, symbolic reconciliation is communication of an intention to right the wrongs of the past. However, this needs to be followed up by real action in order for true societal change to occur.

Updates

Highlights

After unsuccessful negotiations on Nov. 5, the Canadian Union of Public Employees local 3906, the union representing McMaster Teaching Assistants, Research Assistants and other academic workers, announced that they are inching closer to calling a strike before the end of the month.

The announcement comes after months of labour negotiations between CUPE 3906 and the university. Since August, CUPE 3906 has been negotiating on behalf of McMaster TAs and RAs. They are represented under CUPE 3906 unit 1, one of the union’s three bargaining units.

In August, the employment contract for academic workers at McMaster expired, as it does every three years. The contract, called the collective agreement, outlines the rights and responsibilities of employers and employees, including rules about wages, work hours and benefits. When the collective agreement expired, the university and CUPE 3906 entered into collective bargaining to renegotiate the agreement on behalf of its members, giving the union a chance to push for improvements to their working conditions.

To prepare for negotiations, CUPE 3906 released a survey for its members to identify their bargaining priorities. One of CUPE’s main sets of bargaining priorities is centred around wages and work hours. Under the previous collective agreement, graduate TAs earned $43.63 per hour, and undergraduate TAs received $25.30 an hour. However, the agreement also states that they cannot work more than 260 hours a year, or more than 10 hours a week on average. 

For graduate TAs, this results in a maximum of $11,343.80 a year. Nathan Todd, the president of CUPE 3906, pointed out that unless TAs have other means of financial support, such as scholarships, this maximum will not cover full-time tuition, which TAs must pay in order to maintain their conditions of employment.

Furthermore, says Todd, many TAs work above their hours. Between running tutorials, grading work and holding office hours, they can work above their hours without overtime pay.

One way that CUPE 3906 hopes to address this is by proposing to increase the minimum number of hours for TA contracts from 33 to 40. While this does not allow TAs to work more than the allotted 260 hours, it helps to increase the number of paid hours on short-term contracts.

Additionally, CUPE 3906 has stated that McMaster has proposed changes that will make it harder for TAs to take on additional guaranteed work hours. According to CUPE 3906 representatives, the university is proposing to remove language in the collective agreement that allows TAs to increase their number of guaranteed number hours if they get hired for additional work in their second year. The university has a policy not to discuss the content of ongoing labour negotiations, so representatives have not confirmed whether McMaster made this proposal.

Another bargaining priority is the implementation of university-wide paid TA training. Currently, the collective agreement between CUPE and the university allows TAs three paid hours a semester to participate in health and safety and orientation training, which is meant to provide new employees with general information about the university and resources available to them. The agreement states that orientation training can point new employees towards professional development resources that they would presumably have to access on their own time. 

CUPE has stated that this is insufficient. Instead, the union has proposed  five paid hours of pedagogical training and three hours of anti-oppression training.

“I don't think asking for training on how to do your job is unreasonable. It's the kind of thing you'd expect from any professional workplace,” said Todd.

CUPE’s proposals also include paid family medical leave, preference to Indigenous applicants for positions in the Indigenous Studies Program and protection against tuition increases.

According to Todd, the proposals that the university put forward during the Nov. 5 meeting did not speak to enough of the priorities that CUPE had raised. He also said the university’s proposals included concessions, where the employer takes back gains that had been made through bargaining in previous years.

“Those are the two things that we asked them to do at the end of the last negotiations to keep negotiations forward, because we can't accept a contract that has concessions,” said Todd.

McMaster  representatives have not commented on the details of their proposed bargaining agreements. 

In a historic vote on Sept. 26, 87 per cent of CUPE’s unit 1 membership voted to authorize a strike. The positive strike vote allows the bargaining team to call a strike if they are unsatisfied with the deal that the university offers them during negotiations.

After another unsuccessful bargaining meeting on Nov. 5, CUPE announced that they are inching ever closer to declaring a strike.

Gord Arbeau, director of communications at McMaster, said that in the case of a strike, the university would remain open and exams would still be scheduled. He stated that the university is undergoing contingency planning to determine how to mitigate the impacts of a potential strike, but did not elaborate on what these strategies would entail.

McMaster has an existing policy that outlines the rights and responsibilities of undergraduate students in the case of work stoppages. According to the policy, undergraduate students are entitled to withdraw from academic activities during a work stoppage, and cannot be penalized academically for doing so. However, they still must meet course requirements, and have the right to extended deadlines, make-up assignments and other alternative arrangements. Furthermore, students who feel that the disruption has unreasonably affected their grades may submit appeals.

A strike would also have significant effects on TAs and RAs. According to Todd, if a strike were initiated, unit 1 members would stop receiving payment and some benefits from the university. Striking members would cease duties related to their employment, including tutorials, labs, grading and email correspondence with students. However, unit 1 members would be eligible for strike pay. CUPE 3906 offers $15 an hour of tax-free strike pay to striking members for 20 hours a week, which amounts to up to $300 a week.

On Nov. 18 and 19, CUPE 3906 will meet with university representatives for a mediation session in a final attempt to negotiate a collective agreement. If they are unable to reach a deal, CUPE 3906 will be in a position to call a strike.

According to Arbeau, the university is hopeful about the upcoming meeting.

“We remain hopeful that an agreement that is responsible and reflective of the important work that the membership does [and] hopeful that an agreement can be reached without a work stoppage,” he said. 

CUPE 3906 also hopes to come to a fair deal in order to avoid a strike.

In a statement from Nov. 9, CUPE 3906 wrote “We remain eager to reach a fair agreement that reflects your priorities ahead of this deadline, and hopeful that the employer’s entire bargaining team will come to the table on the 19th ready to do the same.”

 

Photo by Hannah Walters-Vida / Editor-In-Chief

By Sam Marchetti, Contributor

On Sept. 27, I saw something wonderful. In the 10 minute drive from my house to the Oakville GO station on Friday, I saw a class walking the streets with their teachers holding signs up. I saw a group of four high school students at a bus shelter farther down the road, brandishing large signs with phrases like “don’t be a fossil fool” and “I’m skipping lessons so I can teach you one”.

That morning, I made my way down to Queen’s Park in Toronto. I, unfortunately, could not stay for the climate march. But I chanted and stood with those near Queen’s Park station for as long as I could. Anyone who knows me knows that I’ve been concerned about climate change for years. Those who know me best know that I’ve given up hope more than once. It was incredible to know that I was standing with just a small proportion of the millions of people marching around the world. There have been climate strikes and marches before, I have even attended a few of them. Eventually, though, I always ended up feeling defeated. For once, it felt like this time was different. 

So, to all of you reading, let this time be different. Our climate emergency is no longer a problem that can be solved by our actions as individuals. We need the governments of the world to stand with us and to implement policies that will curb greenhouse gas emissions on a global scale and at an unprecedented rate. This isn’t an easy task, and it’s one that we certainly will not accomplish through one day of marching and striking in the streets. There are two things we need to do if we want these strikes to mean something.

First and foremost, we need to keep marching. The next time you hear about a climate protest, march, rally or strike, go to it. Don’t second-guess it, just do it. It doesn’t matter if there are another 500,000 people there and it doesn’t matter if there are just five. Most importantly, it doesn’t matter who you are. Whether or not you have contributed so far to this cause, we need you. We need your activism. We need to see you in the streets, to hear you in the media and to help keep our politicians watching us. Keep the momentum going and scream as loud as you can. 

The second thing is equally as important: you need to vote. Marching, screaming and getting our politicians to see what we want is meaningless unless we can hold them to it. If we don’t vote, they don’t have to listen to us. It is imperative that we show them that we have the power and that we will not allow them to sit idly while the Earth burns. Register to vote, right now (I’ll even give you the link - www.elections.ca). In October, show up to the polls. Don’t just make your voice heard, make it count

The marches on Sept. 27, 2019 were incredible. This wasn’t the first time I’ve felt that kind of hope, but I think this time it might not fail me. 

This is my plea to you. Let this time be different.

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Photo c/o Elizabeth Svyatnenko 

Monday night, a group of McMaster students issued a petition urging McMaster administration to cancel classes and assessments on the afternoon of Sept. 27 so that students, staff and faculty can participate in a climate strike this Friday.

The students organizing the petition are a part of McMaster Students for Climate Change Advocacy (MSCCA), a McMaster-based climate advocacy organization.

The planned climate strike will come as part of a week of mass climate actions from Sept. 20-27, culminating in a global general strike to raise the alarm on the climate crisis.

Climate activists are planning a mass disruption, calling on people from all facets of society to walk out of school and work, thus disrupting business as usual and forcing leaders to pay attention.

“Together, we will sound the alarm and show our politicians that business as usual is no longer an option. The climate crisis won’t wait, so neither will we,” says a statement from Global Climate Strike, an environmental organization coordinating the protests.

While organizers hope that this will be Hamilton’s largest climate strike, it is not the first. Since March, young people from schools across Hamilton have been organizing regular protests to bring attention to the climate crisis. In collaboration with Fridays for future, young people from around the world have been walking out of classes on Fridays to demand immediate, far-reaching action on the climate emergency.

By making sacrifices to their education in order to attend the climate strikes, the activists are demonstrating that the climate crisis is an immediate priority.

“You’re really going to show that these people are in it for the long haul and especially if you’re missing work [or] you’re missing school. You are taking consequences and showing the fact that . . . if you don’t take care of this now, you won’t have a job, you won’t have school,” said Kirsten Connelly, MSCCA founder and co-president.

The urgency of the climate crisis was highlighted in a 2018 report from the United Nations International Panel on Climate Change. According to the report, it is of critical importance to limit global warming to 1.5°C within the next decade. It is very likely that failure to do so will result in catastrophic changes including mass extinction, floods, wildfires and the spread of infectious diseases.

Earth Strike Canada, the organization coordinating the Canadian climate strikes, asserts that the climate crisis is a result of an economic system that relies on indefinite growth, requiring unsustainable resource use and thus diminishing future quality of life. Earth Strike Canada’s demands include investments into green technological advancement, resource management reform and economic reform.

MSCCA’s role has been to encourage McMaster students to participate in the climate strike. To accomplish this, they are urging the university to cancel classes and evaluations on Friday afternoon so that students, staff and faculty can participate without penalty.

“Students shouldn’t have to choose between global citizenship and McMaster citizenship,” stated Connelly.

On Sept. 13, Concordia University announced that they would be cancelling classes the afternoon of Sept. 27 to allow students to attend the climate strike. McMaster students are urging the university to follow suit.

Last week, McMaster issued a statement saying that the university would stay open on Sept. 27 so that academic and research activities can continue as scheduled.

However, MSCCA members are still hopeful. As of Wednesday afternoon, the petition had over 2,100 signatures on Change.org, and the numbers are growing.

Organizers are pushing for a mass climate strike around the world. Hamilton’s climate strike will be held on Sept. 27 at 12:00 in Gore Park.

 

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Photos C/O McMaster Muslim Students' Association

By: Drew Simpson

The McMaster Muslims Students’ Association recently held Finding Your Momentum, a leadership and empowerment workshop specifically curated for Muslims. Its objective was to increase youth engagement to improve community involvement.

While MacMSA maintains a busy calendar, the process of organizing this event began well before the school year started. While decisions were being made around the structure of MacMSA’s exec-director team, the team realized a recent and significant drop in engagement with the association and the community.

Typically, directorship positions with the MacMSA would attract about 50 applicants each, in recent times however, these numbers have significantly dropped to one or two applicants. The senior executives became worried about MacMSA’s future leadership and lack of engagement with younger cohorts.

MacMSA leaders also saw a lack of Muslims being represented in leadership positions in the McMaster community, such as through the Student Representative Assembly.

Feedback gained from focus groups found a common rhetoric of Muslims opting out of leadership positions to focus on academics. They also found that many individuals were under the misconception that they are not needed by the community.

 

One workshop attendee and MacMSA representative noted that a lot of students experience a lack of confidence in their abilities and felt that they aren’t equipped with the appropriate skills to take on leadership responsibilities.  

The Finding Your Momentum workshop was created in response to these concerns. The MacMSA team realized that they needed to empower their members and create a space where attendees can have open conversations about bettering themselves as Muslims and leaders in the community.

While one of the aims of the workshop was to increase attendees’ engagement with the community, the MacMSA team had to first figure out a way to increase engagement with the workshop itself.

From previous experiences, the organizers found that many people needed someone to both encourage them to participate and attend the event with them. This was often facilitated through invitations by word of mouth.

The organizers of Finding Your Momentum took advantage of this promotion strategy, and it worked. One attendee noted that in order to facilitate empowerment, individuals need someone to give them a little push of encouragement and support.  

“When you hear ‘word-of-mouth’, you think of just going and telling someone ‘hey we have an event, just come’. But it’s actually investing in the Muslim community on campus…A part of being a leader is having a community that can look up to you and support your vision,” explained Faryal Zahir, MSA Director and Finding Your Momentum organizer.

“A big part of this year has been making that vision very very clear, and then having people inspired to support that vision.”

This workshop consisted of interactive activities and discussions that focused on introspecting on attendees’ relationships with themselves and others. There was also a focus on utilizing leadership opportunities to serve the community and building connections.

At every MacMSA event, building connections is a recurring goal. The team believes that building connections enables individuals into action.

Finding Your Momentum, like other MacMSA events, aims to break down the barriers that repress interaction, and encourage attendees to have one-to-one connections, first with themselves, then with their peers and greater community.

Time will tell if the MacMSA achieved its goal of encouraging workshop attendees to take on more leadership positions, but one thing is for sure – Finding Your Momentum created a much needed space for empowerment and meaningful engagement for Muslim youth.

 

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Photo by Kyle West

By: Natalie Clark

When the quaint and beloved Westdale Theatre closed down in early 2017, residents of the Westdale community and many McMaster students were especially upset. Although fairly run down, the Westdale had been the community’s hot spot for Friday night dates, Hollywood’s must-see films and the best popcorn in town for as long as anyone could remember.

On Feb. 14, the Westdale community celebrated the long-awaited re-opening of the Westdale Theatre. Guests were told to dress in period attire for a special event accompanied by cocktails and a screening of the 1942 classic, Casablanca. The event also featured a silent auction, where guests could explore the new and improved venue while admiring local Hamilton art.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BtwPnG9B6q9/

With searchlights lighting up the night sky and a red carpet gracing the floor of the doors of the theatre, the Westdale certainly dressed to impress for their grand re-opening. The 350 ticket event sold out in two weeks.

For the past 30 years, the Westdale was owned by an elderly man in Toronto. It wasn’t until he passed away that his family put the theatre up for sale, allowing new owners to claim the theatre, known as the Westdale Cinema Group.

https://www.instagram.com/p/Battr_XFwIc/

“An enormous amount of changes were made… the theatre was in terrible condition, we spent 2.5 million dollars restoring it,” mentioned Fred Fuchs, chairperson of the Westdale Cinema Group.

“Besides equipping it with state-of-the-art projection, screens, new seats, new sound, new acoustic panelling, we also had to completely redo the air conditioning and the heating, the electrical system, the roof, the bathrooms — it was a complete overhaul of the entire theatre,” said Fuchs.

About two years later, the Westdale Theatre is back open for business, and the community is thrilled. Westdale resident and Silhouette alumnus, David Simpson, had one word to describe the re-opening event, “fabulous”.

“I think that the re-opening will be great for Westdale and for McMaster too, creating a hub for the community,” said Simpson.

https://www.instagram.com/p/Brkq2vjhA1y/

Members of the Westdale community are thrilled about the re-opening of the theatre but are also admiring the other advantages that the theatre welcomes to the community.

“It’s wonderful to see it revitalized, and to see hundreds of people in the theatre is great,” said Vivian Lewis, a member of the Westdale community.

“I think that the theatre is going to bring a diversity of films to the community,” mentioned Lewis. “Right now in Hamilton we just have lots of box theatres that are showing the same thing on every screen, and so this theatre will be our chance to see more art films and more alternative films that aren’t currently available in Hamilton.”

https://www.instagram.com/p/BrA4RzxB7e_/

Aside from standard film movies, the Westdale Theatre will also be hosting frequent live music shows, talks, performances and other special events.

“I’m excited about the idea that it’s not just a movie theatre anymore and that it’s also performance based,” said Sue Trerise-Adamson, another Westdale resident.

“I think that is a really good idea, and it expands all the possibilities of the theatre… I think it’s a real anchor for the whole community of Westdale,” mentioned Trerise-Adamson.

Westdale locals have already begun visiting the theatre for their regular screenings and are grateful to have the theatre back in the community.

Experience the new and improved Westdale Theatre on your own and check out all available screenings and shows on their website: https://www.thewestdale.ca/now-playing/

 

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Photo C/O Brian Zheng

By Lilian Obeng

Two weeks ago, students and alumni gathered in the streets of Westdale and Ainslie Wood to celebrate McMaster’s Homecoming. After the incident known colloquially as “Dalewoodstock” took place in 2017, residents and university administration were keen to avoid repeating the levels property damage. The McMaster Students Union president also participated in the university’s promotional campaign dissuading students from partaking in the extremes of party culture.

Also two weeks ago, McMaster went viral. A clip of a girl being knocked down, and subsequently trampled by a mounted police officer began to make the rounds on social media. The video was so clear that news outlets such as CBC Hamilton picked it up. The immediate response to the video was to brush the incident off as a moment of drunken hilarity, but this occurrence sheds light on the evolving relationship between the MSU and law enforcement — specifically to the detriment of students.

We have arrived. #homecoming @McMasterU #makegooddecisions pic.twitter.com/VbO9AvUgnW

— HPS Mounted Patrol (@HPSMounted) September 15, 2018

In preparation of Homecoming, the university administration, McMaster Parking & Security Services and the MSU all meet to discuss and determine strategies for deterring improper conduct.

With this in mind, the increased policing of students appeared inevitable. Since St. Patrick’s Day of 2016 — at the very least — police officers have been contracted by the university for additional security. ACTION officers have been consistently and increasingly patrolling the Westdale area whenever celebratory, or potentially inflammatory, occasions take place, often with horses.

https://www.facebook.com/mcmasteruniversity/posts/10155476498301401?__xts__%5B0%5D=68.ARBGbWYM7aX51V2-heujkGrwptLKL9I_21Uj_XRaMsJiQk0mL9Vbl1kSyXVcpIjpIRpK4nstrcVbAoRl72Nzv6tI0y4x3rRJh0eiKZxJv6UGcDJZJicXrekIOlcbccP3LJX0LEBTASGRqkUZ68yERt0HkhQ7uONXWbZgPt4snneEjW8mEI2opwc&__tn__=-R

[spacer height="20px"]Initially, there was a half-hearted attempt by dispersed student groups to call attention to the increased policing going on at McMaster. In spite of the MSU’s purported dissatisfaction with the situation, this issue was shelved. Subsequent board of directors failed to recognize the danger this presented to all racialized people at McMaster.

The push towards policing was spurred on by our Ward 1 councillor Aidan Johnson.

Johnson, who is not seeking reelection in October, ran on a platform of deliberately increasing police presence on ‘student streets.’ He also expressed support for hiring Mohawk students to help patrol the Ainslie Woods and Westdale neighbourhoods — an idea that the city and McMaster are not in opposition to.

Why does any of this matter? Essentially, students are being used as an ‘easy’ source of revenue — a concerning fact when financial security is tenuous for many of us. Students are ticketed at such a disproportionate rate that the MSU must roll out multiple by-law education campaigns. We are also deliberately exposing vulnerable populations to uncritical surveillance.

The fact of the matter is that certain groups in our society have been historically disenfranchised by law enforcement. Heightened police presence is an inherent threat and a reminder of the power dynamics present in Hamilton.

It is plausible that our student leaders were unaware of this history, but ignorance is an insufficient excuse when police officers unnecessarily parade horses through students and cause bodily harm. We as students have forgotten our initial outrage, and allowed ourselves to uncritically parrot back the talking points of out-of-touch administrators. Our MSU president, however inadvertently, used her image to promote the policing of students and advance the university’s public relations campaign. This doubly highlights the need for the MSU to find ways to retain institutional memory. Our advocacy needs to be much stronger than this.

Ultimately, the response to Homecoming was overblown. We as students empathize with the desire the City of Hamilton, residents and the university has to contain rowdy, disruptive teenagers. We should wholeheartedly reject the notion that the solution lies in policing.

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By: Joe Jodoin

Remember three years ago when some over-the-top Die Hard rip-off came out of nowhere, and it actually turned out better than the last couple Die Hard movies? Well that movie got a sequel, full of more of the same mindless action. London Has Fallen is a fun throwback to the simplistic but entertaining action movies of the late 80s, early 90s period of cinema. Think of the classics with Schwarzenegger, Stallone, or Van Damme, full of graphic violence and cartoony explosions. This film will at least provide a short period of escapism for action lovers, but not much else for other audiences.

The story follows Islamic terrorists who carry out an attack at the British Prime Minister’s funeral, in order to kill most of the world’s leaders, including the American President. The only man who can protect the President is Secret Service Agent Mike Banning, and the two men travel around London fighting countless waves of terrorist bad guys. The plot is incredibly unrealistic and silly, but serves to create many over-the-top fantastical action sequences.

Olympus wasn’t a movie that I thought needed a sequel, and London isn’t a movie that needs to be seen, but it’s a movie that can be enjoyed if you’re bored on a summer afternoon.

Gerard Butler does a decent job in the lead role, but has to play a very cliché character with no great lines. Aaron Eckhart plays a boring and wooden prime minister, and Morgan Freeman’s role solely involves sitting in a chair and speaking in a monotone voice. However, because the action takes the spotlight, none of these strange decisions are bothersome. It never became mind numbing or boring, and despite a complete lack of emotional investment, I was having fun watching it.

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Even though the movie is technically a sequel to Olympus Has Fallen, this really doesn’t matter as the prequel is never referred to at all. Olympus wasn’t a movie that I thought needed a sequel and London isn’t a movie that needs to be seen, but it’s a movie that can be enjoyed if you’re bored on a summer afternoon and want to relax and watch some mindless action for an hour and a half.

Overall, the movie lacks sophistication and elegance, but it makes up for it in gleeful brutality. Be prepared going into this film that there will be many plot holes and countless clichés, and by no means is the movie well made. This is just a good cure for boredom. It isn’t a movie for everyone, but hopefully you will know what you’re getting into if you decide you want to watch it.

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By: Joe Jodoin

This movie isn’t a groundbreaking artwork. It doesn’t subvert the audience’s perceptions of superhero archetype. It doesn’t even have a clever sense of humour or any breathtaking special effects. However, a Deadpool movie doesn’t have to have any of these qualities to be a success because that’s not why we love Deadpool. Deadpool is a foul-mouthed, juvenile sociopath, who takes nothing seriously and constantly breaks the fourth wall to let us know he is perfectly aware of what the audience is thinking. In that respect, Deadpool is exactly the kind of movie the character deserves.

I was first introduced to Deadpool just over 10 years ago, when I began reading X-Men comic books. He was never my favorite character, but he was the kind of character that provided essential comic relief through the use of meta-humor that I found myself craving when the drama of the more serious superhero epics got overwhelming. Right now we live in an age of Hollywood cinema where most audience members consider dark and grounded to be essential characteristics of a good superhero movie. The miracle of Deadpool is that it has arrived at the perfect time; not only to provide much needed counter programing from your typical superhero movies that take themselves so seriously, but it reminds audiences that superheroes also have a fun side, providing escapism through high entertainment.

Deadpool’s character has always been someone people either love or hate and it has been largely due to this controversial sense of humor. 

Deadpool has received a generally positive response from film critics, but occasionally gets criticized for being the exact film that it ridicules. It has one of the most typical superhero origin stories ever conceived, with an upbeat but tormented protagonist, and a one-dimensional villain with no character development. There is the standard love interest, standard comic relief and sidekick characters, and standard cameos from other superheroes that some fans will recognize from other movies.

The storylines shows that this typical narrative is so overused because it works. The villain is underdeveloped so the lovable hero can get more screen time; the love interest gives the film heart; the comic relief calms you down after a brutal torture scene or a draining action scene. It reminds us that the reason superheroes exist is to provide escapism from daily life, and Deadpool is its ultimate manifestation.

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The actors all do a fantastic job, espectially Ryan Reynolds, who was born to play Deadpool. He has previously tried to play other comic book characters such as Hannibal King or Green Lantern and has been perfectly serviceable, but his performance as Deadpool ranks among the greats such as Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man, or Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine. Stefan Kapicic as Colossus was another major standout of the film. The character of Colossus has already been featured in three other X-Men movies, but on none of those occasions was he ever done justice. In Deadpool, he is portrayed as a big brother-like figure to the other X-men, who also has a heart under his shiny metal exterior.

The movie’s lewd sense of humour is another defining aspect, although whether it is a good or bad thing will be up to the individual viewer. Deadpool’s character has always been someone people either love or hate and it has been largely due to this controversial sense of humor.

Overall, this movie isn’t perfect, but I loved every single scene. You can pick apart this movie for things like its cheap special effects, countless dick jokes, or lack of originality, but those are exactly what make this the perfect Deadpool movie.

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After hearing the incredibly positive buzz about the new Fallout 4 game, I made sure I got my hands on it the minute it was released. Since last Tuesday, I have been spending all of my waking time playing this game.

The fifth installment in the main Fallout series takes place in Boston and the Greater Boston Area in the year 2287. The events of this game precede all of the major points in time covered by the other games and their spin-offs. You explore a large chunk of New England accompanied by various companions — using a large-field editor to build settlements. A lot of this game is customizable with most of the map and character’s design is left up to the player.

After a beautifully designed opening to catch you up to speed with the opening events of the game, you can design your character. As a lover of The Sims franchise, I was blown away by the design engine created for Fallout 4. I spent my first hour with this game constructing the faces into a male version of what I’d like to date, and then the female character as myself. The character’s faces are divided up into sections — three of which are solely for the nose. I have seen numerous screenshots of celebrity lookalikes made by new players of the game — all of which are uncanny and hilarious.

In line with the idea of the game’s demographic, it’s worth noting that this isn’t your run-of-the-mill violent shooter game. This is an adventure game, where the choices you make affect the path you’ll be taking through Fallout 4. Instead of resorting to spraying and praying with a fully automatic rifle, you can use dialogue and non-violent solutions to solve major conflicts in the game. I’m not saying that this is a preferred method — I’m just saying that this alternative is an option.

As a dog lover, this game really rubs me the right way. After reaching a certain checkpoint, you meet a German shepherd who becomes your ally immediately. It’s odd, since you wouldn’t think that a dog who had just gone through a nuclear war — presumably not socialized by any humans — would be friendly to a stranger who just happened to sprint into town. But, luckily for me, this happens to be the case. You can use the dog to sniff out goodies and assist you in combat, which is a nice feature. Your dog can get hurt, but I wouldn’t advise wasting a stimpak on it, since, as I’ve noticed, the dog’s health regenerates on its own.

As usual with the Fallout games, you must keep your eyes peeled everywhere you go — leave no room unchecked, leave no table unturned, leave no enemy body clothed. I’ve been spending a lot of my time running through rooms and opening drawers, picking up useless, heavy items such as bags of cement and broken fans, but that’s just because it’s fun and you can drop anything at anytime in the game. Unfortunately, despite my ability to pick up random objects, I lost out on a freebie perception level-up by failing to notice a small Vault Boy bobble head on a table in the first quest. I only noticed it the second time around when my partner advised his friend to pick it up — something he knew about from his own run-through. Frustrating as it is, there are more little perks to be picked up along the way, so be sure to stay alert at all times.

This game isn’t without its bugs, unfortunately. The first glitch I encountered was in the opening scene where you have to take a drink of coffee but there is no animation to accompany the slurping sound.

Everyone I have come into contact with has listened to me rave about this game. I cannot recommend it enough. It is, however, $79.99 at this point. I would suggest waiting for the inevitable Steam Christmas sale, or another means of acquisition. Another reason to wait would be for upcoming patches, which will remedy the current bugs in the game. Despite this, I will say that this game is worth every penny, and I look forward to having more exciting conversations with new players of Fallout 4.

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