Bill C-7 expands medical assisted in dying to include those whose death is not reasonably foreseeable

C/O Bill Oxford

cw: mental illness, death, ableism

The Canadian government has passed Bill C-7, which changed the medical assistance in dying law. The bill was introduced in October 2020 after a September 2019 decision made by the Superior Court of Quebec.

The law previously required that the individual seeking MAID must be faced with a “reasonably foreseeable” natural death in order to be eligible. The law included the following: someone who has a serious and incurable illness, disease or disability, who is in an advanced state of irreversible decline in capability, who is experiencing enduring and intolerable suffering that cannot be relieved under conditions acceptable to them and whose natural death has become reasonably foreseeable.

The 2019 ruling found the requirement of a reasonably foreseeable natural death to be unconstitutional.

As such, Bill C-7 proposed amendments to the criminal code. This would expand MAID eligibility to persons whose natural death is not reasonably foreseeable. Individuals with mental illness will also be eligible for this within two years. The Senate passed Bill C-7 on March 17, 2021. The royal assent was given a week ahead of its court-imposed final deadline of March 26.

Vote result on on @SenMarcGold's motion related to the House of Commons response to the Senate's amendments to Bill #C7:

Yeas: 60 ✔️
Nays: 25 ❌
Abstentions: 5#SenCA #cdnpoli

— Senate of Canada (@SenateCA) March 17, 2021

The bill will create two different sets of safeguards for those whose death is reasonably foreseeable and for those whose death is not reasonably foreseeable. Furthermore, Canadians will have a minimum 90-day assessment period for their MAID request in which they will be made aware of alternatives, such as counselling.

Bill C-7 has raised a lot of concerns from disability advocates. More than 300 disability groups in Canada opposed the change, as they believe it would create situations where people with disabilities are offered MAID instead of stronger support and community services.

We are horrified by the direction parliament is taking Canada’s euthanasia legislation. The idealization of doctor-assisted death as a peaceful, easy solution to the existential problem of life’s challenges is cruel. @TheSpec#BillC7@djnontario#HamOnt

— Hamilton Centre for Civic Inclusion (HCCI) (@HCCI1) March 11, 2021

Sarah Jama, co-founder of the Disability Justice Network of Ontario and a McMaster University alumna, expressed her concerns.

"How are we going to make sure that marginalized communities like the Indigenous, racialized people and those with disabilities, don't feel pressured to access MAID because they feel like a burden on the state?” asked Jama in a CBC MAID town hall.

These concerns were also echoed by the United Nations Human Rights Council’s Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Gerard Quinn.

“We’re concerned that it massively expands the range of [MAID eligible] people with disabilities, who potentially will be given access [to MAID],” said Quinn in a CBC interview. “We’re concerned that there might be issues there . . . undermining their autonomy and their capacity to make the right decisions. I don’t mean the lack of legal capacity. What I mean is subtle pressure being brought to bear by, for example, lack of services or lack of community living options."

MSU Maccess coordinator Calvin Prowse echoed concerns around the bill.

“Things like the lack of social services, the erosion of the social safety net, lack of healthcare... a lack of pharmacare so people can actually pay their medications…in many ways, [for] disabled people, their inclusion in society is being prevented . . . We're trying to give folks with disabilities access to dying, but as a society, we are not actually helping people meet their needs and allow them to actually live,” said Prowse.

"Of course it’s not promoting death. Death is inevitable, you don’t need to promote it. No, this is to reduce suffering and pain.” Former prof Ronald Bayne on why we need medical assistance in dying. At 98, Dr. Bayne chose #MAID and died on Friday.

— McMaster University (@McMasterU) March 1, 2021

cw MAiD, death, genocide

It is upsetting to see @McMasterU romanticize MAiD like this. Changes to Bill c7 perpetuate the idea that disabled lives are not worth living. During a pandemic in which disabled lives are constantly devalued, c7 reads more like coercion than choice. 1/4

— MSU Maccess (@MSU_Maccess) March 2, 2021

Prowse also pointed to the timing of the bill being discussed during the COVID-19 pandemic, as people with disabilities have already had to advocate to be prioritized for vaccines and more folks are developing disabilities and chronic illnesses. Some advocates worry that their voice is not being heard.

“I think that we see a lot of people with disabilities and a lot of disabled organizations coming forward and sharing their criticisms and concerns about this bill . . . There’s so many, but I think often that is lost or, truthfully, ignored when we have conversations about MAID. Those perspectives are often not considered,” emphasized Prowse.

The government has committed to launching a joint parliamentary committee to review additional unresolved details around the bill, such as whether mature minors should have access to the procedure and what the inclusion of individuals with mental illness will entail. This committee will be launched within 30 days of the royal assent.

Photo C/O Grant Holt

By: Neda Pirouzmand

The university has banned the consumption of cannabis on campus, but the McMaster Centre for Continuing Education, Peter Boris Centre for Addictions Research and Michael G. DeGroote Centre for Medical Cannabis Research have combined efforts to pilot a new “Science of Cannabis” program.

Science of cannabis is going to be a three-course program that will meet the needs of health and community professionals, educators, civil servants and individuals with personal interest.

The first course of the program, Fundamentals of Cannabis Science, begins on May 13 and will run until July 21.  

Lorraine Carter, director of the CCE, emphasized the evidence-based nature and relevance of the program.

“The fundamentals course is an important introduction to the general history and science of cannabis, and sets the stage for subsequent courses focused on therapeutic interventions and the risks associated with cannabis use,” said Carter. “In all, grounded in contemporary evidence and delivered by McMaster’s leading experts in cannabis research, the program is an exceptional learning opportunity.”

Michael Amlung, assistant professor in the department of psychiatry and behavioural neurosciences at Mcmaster, will be teaching the “Fundamentals of Cannabis Science” course.

As a faculty scientist, his research focuses on cannabis misuse.

Carter saw a perfect opportunity to partner with James MacKillop, director of the PBCAR and co-director of the DeGroote Centre for Medical Cannabis Research, in the creation of the program.

“The CCE is always looking for program ideas that are timely and relevant to adult, undergraduate and graduate students,” said Carter. “With the legalization of cannabis this past October and awareness of the exceptional research in cannabis happening here at McMaster University, the chance to partner with Dr. McKillop’s research team was a natural partnership.”

The CCE offers flexible workshops and courses for students to build upon past skills, obtain a professional designation or pursue new learning opportunities.

These include crisis and mental health training, data analytics and web design.

According to Carter, despite its smoking ban, McMaster should consider pursuing programs similar to science of cannabis in its future.

“More and more students are looking for programs in specific topics and skills areas. Programs that are shorter than a degree such as a three-course certificate and that are offered online are especially appealing,” he said.

Carter explains that online courses garner over 80 per cent of enrollment in the realm of continuing education.

“The accessibility and flexibility of online courses is something that today’s learners value a great deal,” said Carter.

McMaster is following closely behind the heels of the University of Ottawa and Ryerson University in the timely introduction of cannabis-focused education.

Ryerson University launched a cannabis course called “The Business of Cannabis” last year and the University of Ottawa was the first Canadian law school to offer cannabis law courses for the 2018-2019 academic year.

Class sizes for the “Fundamentals of Cannabis Science” are limited and the second course of the program has yet to be revealed.

Depending on its success, the science of cannabis program may add more courses and update content as cannabis news and research develops.


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Photo by Kyle West

By: Maryanne Oketch

One of the reasons I chose to enrol at McMaster University was for the diversity that the school claimed to offer. Coming from a predominantly white secondary school, I was excited to attend a new school. I was hopeful that I would make connections within my program and maybe gain a support system consisting of people that could relate to the experience of being Black in academia.

When I entered the integrated science program in 2016, I was disheartened to realize that in my year of entry, I was the only student in my program that was Black, alongside two other individuals with mixed backgrounds. Within the week, this dropped to two, as one person switched out. Within the month, it then became clear that the two of us were not just the only Black students in our year, but in the whole four-year program.

This lack of Black peers created a feeling that I had to be the best of the best, and when I couldn’t reach that goal, I would withdraw rather than reaching out. This caused damage to my grades, reputation and relationships with my peers.  

It is a well-known fact that there is a disparity between the Black population and our representation in higher education. This gap can be seen more in supplementary-based programs that McMaster offers, and my experience unfortunately is not an isolated one.

Multiple students from different programs stated that the lack of Black students in their programs made them feel like there were few people who could relate to the struggles that come with being Black.

There was also another complexity that I did not consider — the fact that there are more Black women in academia than Black men. One health sciences student, upon realizing that they were the only Black man in their whole year, experienced feelings of isolation.

In addition, a justice, political philosophy and law student was the only Black man in their program, and though he is friends with Black women, he notes that it is not fully the same.  

Regrettably, the issues that stem from the lack of diversity do not just have interpersonal effects, but also affect the learning experience. A student in the arts and science program said that there were times when a professor or student would ask a question that pertained to race, and the question would seem pointed at them, the only Black student in their year.

This student can also recall a moment when a professor made a comment about how some students may be used to hearing racist jokes, and then locked eyes with them, creating an uncomfortable situation.

Another former arts and science student had a class where a classmate attempted to defend slavery, and a professor who taught a class about oppression but refused to use the term “racism”. The student states that they never felt challenged by the program, and felt that they had to do the challenging rather than their instructors. This was due, they say, to the structure and instruction of the program being catered to their affluent white peers and not to them.

The catering of programs does not seem limited to just arts and science but can also be seen in McMaster Engineering Society programs. A student within the program switched out after one semester due to the lack of actual inquiry in the program, but a focus on the marks received.

When a peer in their program stated that "the disadvantaged [in Hamilton] aren't doing enough for the more privileged to help them," the professor did not immediately shut down this false and insensitive statement, but instead was complacent. In addition, the structure of the program encouraged students to repeat the same statistics because that is what is needed for a good grade, and not because the students wished to learn more about societal issues.

If multiple Black students in different years and different programs are saying the same thing, there needs to be some sort of change to support these students when they are in the program. I am not suggesting these programs change their selection process, because this lack of diversity is a systemic issue, and I do not have the knowledge to provide suitable solutions to help mitigate the effects.

Regardless, if McMaster strives for diversity and does not have the necessary structure to support the diverse students that they already have, then their efforts are just a baseless claim to obtain more money from a diverse group of students.


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Holiday travel plans can bring us together with family and loved ones. However, because winter weather in Canada can be extreme, it’s important to take a few precautions before you hit the road so you arrive safe and sound.

The York Regional Police, based just north of Toronto, have provided a few tips to help keep you safe on the roads.

Traveling in a winter wonderland

Weathering the conditions: Double-check the weather conditions before heading out. Weather can be severe and change quickly, so it’s extremely important to know the latest weather and traffic conditions, and to leave yourself plenty of time to arrive safely.

Get road-ready: Ensure your vehicle is prepared for the winter. Investing in winter tires is a good place to start. Top-up windshield fluids and antifreeze, ensure you have enough gas for every journey, and update your car’s emergency kit. Clear snow and ice from the windshield and mirrors, as well as from the top of the car and from wheel-wells to increase safety for other drivers.

Buckle up: Always wear your seatbelt, and make sure all of your passengers do too. While this may seem obvious as it's the law, it’s also the most important safety consideration no matter the road conditions.

Eyes on the road: Drive slowly and be aware of other motorists and road hazards. Winter roadways can feature big snow-removal vehicles and sand/salt-trucks, as well as distracted drivers and crosswalks full of pedestrians with arm-loads of gifts! Take the necessary precautions and make sure you’re always in control of your vehicle.

Arrive alive: The holidays are all about good times with family and friends. Don’t drink and drive.


Plan for the best, prepare for the worst

Icy roads, limited visibility, Top 40 Radio…lots of things can impact your time on the road this winter. If you are involved in a fender-bender this season, remember to contact local police immediately if your collision involves:


View original article from TD Insurance.


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In November of last year, a small act to amend the Canada Evidence Act and the Criminal Code was introduced to the Senate. The purpose of this was to help protect the confidentiality of journalistic sources.

There are two, main situations this would apply in. The first is allowing a journalist testifying in court to refuse to disclose information, except if the information cannot be obtained otherwise and if public interest in justice outweighs public interest in the source’s confidentiality. The second is that search warrants and court orders may only be issued for that information if there is no other way to obtain it or if the tradeoff for public interest in the first case applies.

There are a few other protections and contingencies, but those are the big ones. It is a decent start that has been long overdue. Gord Johns, an MP for the NDP, noted, “We need to follow the examples of countries such as Australia, France, Germany and the United Kingdom in developing a shield law.”

While student newspapers across the country have largely been exempt from major controversy, there is a problem with this bill. How do you define what a journalist is?

This has changed over the months from being too broad to being too narrow. As of June 20, the definition of those protected with this bill is limited to only those whose main occupation is journalism. Freelancers and student journalists are not covered as a result.

While it is unlikely we would need to use anonymous sources in any circumstance in the near future, the inability to do so and the knowledge this is the case continues to put a barrier on what we can cover. If we cannot legally protect a source, why would a source ever come to us with a big story?

It is a rough situation caught up in semantics. My main fear is that we will be unable to be the check and balance McMaster deserves when the students most need it.

The only saving grace is that I, as Editor-in-Chief, should be allowed to take these stories on if these definitions persist. No one else on the Silhouette’s staff could be involved as this definition loophole may require them to reveal your identity.

Until these definitions change, please talk directly to me in-person or through sha[email protected] if you have a story that warrants anonymity.

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WARNING: This article contains graphic descriptions of rape and mention of suicide.

I was a Welcome Week representative in 2012, and I met John Doe*, a fellow rep, through some friends. We didn’t work directly together, but he hung out with us often. I thought he was funny, we had the same taste in music, but I never thought of him as anything more. My friends were close to him, and I liked my friends, so it all seemed great. It was after our fourth encounter with each other that he raped me.

It was the day of the Yates Cup. I had gone to a friend’s before the match for some drinks. I was happily drunk but felt the cold November wind hitting my cheeks as the game crept closer to half time. My friends texted me that they were at TwelvEighty and there was an extra seat for me.

As I entered TwelvEighty, I saw John and my friends. I had run out of money and waved my debit card around, asking for a drink. The bartender said that if I had no cash, I had to buy a pitcher in order to use my card. I did so and ended up drinking most of it.

John got up and stretched, and announced that he was going to go for a walk. I was beginning to feel nauseous and figured that joining him would be a good way to sober up. We walked until we found a stairwell. He sat on the stairwell while I fell on them. I remember his face getting closer to mine slowly. He kissed me and I could hear footsteps approaching. People passed by, the match was still going on. I felt exposed and uncomfortable.

I suggested to him that we should go into a private room. I wanted to talk and I wanted for us to be alone. I wasn’t thinking about kissing him more. To be honest, I genuinely wasn’t thinking about anything in particular, I was just drunk. I know I didn’t encourage him, but I clearly didn’t express myself as properly as I wished.

We went into a room in the arts quad basement. He turned off the light and I sat on the ground as standing had become too tricky.

He pulled his pants down and tried to shove himself into my mouth. I was frozen. Somewhere in the back of my mind the phrase “freeze, fight or flight” popped up, and I cursed myself for having the worst reaction.

“Get on that bench.” he said. At that point in time I was so dumbfounded that any short instruction seemed sensible. He pulled off my jeans. I realized what his intentions were, and mustered up the strength to cover myself with both of my hands and said loudly, “No. Stop. I don’t want to. No. Stop.”

I remember him pulling my hands away. He pressed his lips against mine, hard. I remember hearing him grunt, and the occasional loud cheer from TwelvEighty came through the walls. My insides were screaming for my body to get up, to punch, to do anything, but I was incapable of moving. I was scared of his strength. Not physical, as he was short and smaller than me, but his mental strength – the fact that he ignored my pleas frightened me.

Something began to buzz in the room: my friends whom I left outside at the game were attempting to find me. They kept calling. Eventually, he stopped. I had sobered up enough by then to hop off the piano bench, pull up my pants, pick up my phone. We left the room and he headed back to TwelvEighty while I made a beeline for MUSC. As I left he called out, “See you around, eh?”

Somewhere in the back of my mind the phrase “freeze, fight or flight” popped up, and I cursed myself for having the worst reaction. 

I went to the Student Centre and ran into my friends. The shock settled in minutes after and I told my friends what had happened. They took me to Shoppers to buy a Plan B.

The next few days blurred together. I showered for 45 minutes washing every inch of my skin, hoping that the harder I scrubbed, the less dirty I’d feel. I couldn’t sleep. School didn’t matter. I lived off-campus and I would leave the house earlier because I didn’t want to face my parents.

I told my friends later on that day. It was confusing to them because they knew him for years. They said they believed me, but within that week they also told me that he made a mistake and they would remain friends with him.

John Doe called me the very next day and told me he knew I told our mutual friends, and that I was wrong. He declared he did have consent because I took him to the private room. A few days after this, I was with a friend, who was also a good friend of John Doe, but was supporting me during this time. John Doe called me, and I put it on speaker so she could hear what he was saying. He warned me again not to tell anyone, and claimed I was being ridiculous. “Am I always supposed to ask a girl if she wants to have sex with me?” he said in a sarcastic tone. I was stunned. His friend looked at me with an unfathomable expression. I hung up.

[spacer height="20px" id="2"]

My close friends were trying to convince me to report him, but even I was confused as to whether this was rape or not.

I even went to my old high school and confronted two of my closest teachers about what had happened. It hurt me to tell my friends and teachers. I’d see their faces register shock, worry, sadness, frustration, but I didn’t know what else to do. It felt as though I had such a big weight on my shoulders, and it had become too much for me to carry it by myself. I had to tell people who knew who I really was, who knew me before this happened, so I could cling onto my sense of self.

However, I also told people I regret telling. I shared what had happened with friends I wasn’t really close with. At the time, I thought that telling people would help bring some sense into this situation. However, the thoughts some shared with me confused me even more:

“Well, you did tell him to go into that room with you…”

“You were really drunk…”

“You are a super friendly person, so he just mistook that as flirting…”

“I’m not sure if this is considered rape because you probably enjoyed yourself once you started having sex, right?”

Another friend approached me at university one day and handed me a brochure explaining rape and that was when it finally clicked for me. I was raped. Some of my other close friends encouraged me to attend counselling, but it wasn’t until I saw the brochure that I did.

When telling the police, I had to replay every single thing in my mind. It felt like picking at the scabs of a wound that was trying to heal. We had to figure out how long John Doe and I were in the private room, and calculated that I was raped for 45 minutes. 

Two weeks after the incident, I went to see a counsellor in the Student Wellness Centre. My counsellor was nice enough but I felt rushed having to explain what had happened within my 30-minute time slot. It took me 10 minutes to stop crying. She referred me to the hospital and I headed there after my appointment.

Because I didn’t go there straightaway and had showered after being raped, they could not get his semen off my body. Instead, I underwent a physical exam and a mini counselling session. They took my urine sample and I had to take a pregnancy test. Afterwards, they gave me a handful of crushed up pills and water, telling me that these would wipe out any sort of STDs I could have contracted from him.

Within a month after it happened, I attempted suicide. To summarize it all into one sentence: I felt like a failure, like a used up rag that needed to be disposed. I am grateful that it was a botched attempt, and that I had friends around me who let me talk to them openly about it and made me realize it was not the way out.

One month after being raped, I contacted the city’s Sexual Assault unit and talked to a police officer on the phone. We arranged for them to meet me at a friend’s house, where they would interview me and fill out a report. At the time, that was the hardest thing I had to go through. When I told my friends or teachers what had happened, I was able to skip some parts. I was able to provide a summary. When telling the police, I had to replay every single thing in my mind. It felt like picking at the scabs of a wound that was trying to heal. We had to figure out how long John Doe and I were in the private room, and calculated that I was raped for 45 minutes.

I ended up going to the police station about a week afterwards and had an interview with the police. He said he met with John Doe and spoke with him. He asked if I wanted to take this to court, and added that it would take one year. I turned it down. I didn’t want this to drag on. Because I said no, it only says on John Doe’s profile that he was questioned for rape, but that’s it. The police officer patted me on the shoulder as I was leaving and said, “Take care of yourself. Next time, try not to get yourself into this sort of situation, like the drinking...”

The following summer, I found out that John Doe was going to be a Welcome Week rep again. I contacted friends involved with Welcome Week and was referred to the Office of Student Conduct. I went to their office and told them everything. They informed me that had I approached them right after it had happened, they could have done more. John Doe could have faced more serious consequences. I had no idea that I could have approached the Student Conduct Office. I wish I had known, and hope that more information is given to first years about it now.

The office asked me if I could provide a witness. I immediately thought of his close friend that overheard our phone call after it happened. I messaged her and explained the situation. She sent back a lengthy response, acknowledging that she heard what John Doe said, but that she wouldn’t be able to be a witness for me. She added that I seemed to be holding a grudge and keeping in some pent-up anger. She then closed the message saying that her and other friends were also upset about what happened, but they found ways to move on. Her closing sentence was wishing me all the best. I was disgusted, and still am as I type this.

I showed the office the message, and since she acknowledged what John Doe had said, that was all he needed. He told me that he would meet with John Doe and that he would be monitored at all times during Welcome Week. He also said that John Doe wasn’t allowed to approach me on campus, and that I could call security if he did. While that was comforting, that wasn’t the point of my actions. I didn’t want him to harm anyone ever again, especially first year students.

The conduct officer advised me to go to the Human Rights and Equity office, which I did. I met with someone who was extremely nice and warm. It was comforting to open up to such a wonderful person. She informed me of an upcoming event SACHA, the Sexual Assault Center for the Hamilton Area, was hosting at Mac, which was aimed towards friends of sexual assault victims. I attended the session with one of my great friends.

After being raped by someone who I thought was my friend, the most difficult part was letting go of my friends who still supported him. It genuinely crushed me to have my friends tell me they still considered John Doe a friend. One friend messaged me an apology this spring, saying that she finally sees how horrible John Doe is, and that she will always regret not supporting me. Her message was what I had wanted for so long, but when she finally sent it to me, it had lost its value. I had to go through the rest of my undergrad avoiding my Welcome Week friends and certain parts of MUSC where they hung out.

I would think about it at least once every single day for the first year. I would find myself taking the car and driving to a random parking lot to break down and cry without any interruptions. I’d cringe every time I heard a rape joke, pretend I wasn’t affected while inwardly accepting the fact that the joke would stay in my mind for the rest of the day. I began to join numerous clubs and kept busy. I picked up more shifts at work to avoid being home.

Some days, I would have such a good time with friends that it wouldn’t be until I went to bed that I finally realized I hadn’t thought about it all day. I learned to congratulate myself with every little step towards improvement. I dread November a little less now. I didn’t have sex again until a year and a half later. When I did, and I realized it is still pleasurable, I was elated. John Doe may have become the focus of my life and taken things away from me, but this was not one of them.

Sometimes there are setbacks, though. I recently went home with someone and was triggered by the sexual position he wanted us to be in. I ended up crying in his arms. I was lucky because he was kind and understanding. I am now seeking counselling.

Less than two weeks ago, a good friend of mine approached me and told me she had been raped. She brought a guy home who asked her if she wanted to have sex. When she said no, he proceeded regardless. As she was telling me what had happened, I was trying to control my emotions, to be her rock. But how could this have happened? How could someone assault such a kind-hearted human being? What had she done to deserve this? I felt heartbroken all over again.

While I will never be able to fully understand what she’s going through, it’s safe to say that I have a general idea. The pain from being in the position of a victim’s friend was different, but still prominent.

These situations made me realize how often people question what rape really is. I now know that, put simply, it is any form of sexual activity with another person without their consent is sexual assault.

The statistics are disgusting: one in four women in North America will be raped. While the media normally reports rapists as being strangers in parking lots (which does happen often, unfortunately), that is not true for the majority of rapists. 80 percent of the time, your rapist is someone you know. It’s a close friend, or acquaintance, or family member.

I hope people can learn from the experience I’ve had dealing with this crime on campus. There are resources on campus to approach and consult if you have had a similar experience, but it still isn’t enough. If you have been in a similar situation, please contact the Human Rights and Equity Services department at the university.

*Name has been changed.

The author of this article has asked to remain anonymous. If you have any questions, email [email protected].


If you or someone you know is in need of a support service, below is a listing of local centres that are able to provide a variety of services and couselling.

On campus
Human Rights and Equity Services
Provides confidential complaint resolution according to the University’s Sexual Harassment Policies.
(905) 525-9140 x. 27581
[email protected]

Meaghan Ross, Sexual Violence Response Coordinator
(905) 525-9140 x. 20909
[email protected]

Student Wellness Centre
Provides a wide range of counselling options and medical services and testing.
(905) 525-9140 x. 27700
[email protected]

Provides confidential support for all victims of sexual assault.
(905) 525-9140 x. 20265
[email protected]

Provides confidential peer support, referrals on and off campus, anonymous and confidential pregnancy testing.
(905) 525-9140 x. 22041
[email protected]

Off campus
Provides a 24-hour support line, counselling services and public education.
(905) 525-4573
(905) 525-4162 (24-hour Support Line)

Hamilton General Hospital, Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Care Centre
Provides a 24-hour support line, counselling services and public education.
(905) 521-2100 x. 73557
[email protected]

Hamilton Police Services
Takes crime reports from city constituents.
(905) 546-4925

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Anonymous contributor/ WGEN column

For all intents and purposes, I felt that I had consented to what my partner did to me. I invited him over, we engaged in sexual activities and we stopped when I wanted to sleep. When I woke up a few hours later to find his hand between my legs I felt violated and in distress, but I pretended to sleep. I didn’t tell him to stop what he was doing, but I also didn’t say that I wanted him to touch me like that while we slept. It took a very long time for me to feel comfortable with sex after that encounter, and an even longer time to realize that what he did was wrong.

It can be difficult to tell the difference between someone asking for your consent and someone demanding it.

My story is not unique; many people have had similar confusing and upsetting encounters where someone they are dating crosses a line. Justifications for your partner’s actions are commonplace and understandable and usually stem from the belief that you already gave consent or owe your partner sex even when you don’t want it. This stems from unhealthy understandings of relationships on the one hand and a partner’s sense of entitlement on the other.

Consent should be an easy concept to grasp; when two adults both express that they want to engage in sexual activity, they do. However, consent in relationships can be a grey area because you’ve already established that you are attracted to your partner and want to have a physical relationship with them. In addition, the vulnerability required in a long-term relationship can lead to someone agreeing to sex against their will because they feel that it is their duty to their partner. For those such as myself who’ve never been in a healthy relationship before, it can be difficult to tell the difference between someone asking for your consent and someone demanding it. A partner who respects consent will respect boundaries and take no for an answer (and ask for a “yes” in the first place), while a partner who does not respect you will push and push until you “consent.”

Dating someone doesn’t mean you are entitled to their body at all times. Like casual relationships, just because someone has agreed to something before doesn’t mean that they have to do it again. In a healthy relationship both parties feel comfortable expressing their desires and only proceed if both people are interested. If you find that your partner continually pleads and manipulates you into engaging in sex that you aren’t comfortable with, it’s probably time to take a look at your relationship and its power dynamics.

It’s important to remember that while sex can be a wonderful way to feel closer to someone, it isn’t the only way. We sometimes forget that vulnerability exists outside of the bedroom and that relationships require emotional partnership to be sustainable. Look at most of your platonic relationships — I’m sure those are just as fulfilling as your romantic ones, and probably have few, if any, sexual components to them.

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Not too long ago, McMaster made a new hire.

The university was in need of a new director of Parking and Security Services and looked to the community for an option. The person who was eventually hired was Glenn De Caire, the former Chief of Police for the Hamilton Police Service. Looking at title alone, De Caire sounds more than qualified to fill a security-related role at the university, but looking deeper into his background, one surprising detail sticks out.

Under De Caire’s leadership at the Hamilton Police Service, the organization began, and actively chose to continue, the controversial practice of carding. For those unfamiliar, carding is, in general, the checking of someone’s identity card to confirm an identity, age or address. But in the context of Hamilton Police, and many other police services alike, carding refers to the practice of arbitrarily checking the personal identification details of random citizens, often used as a tool of racial profiling, predominantly seen among black men. Carding is currently being challenged as a violation of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and was declared to be “wrong and illegal” by the Ontario ombudsman in a 2015 report.

According to a CBC Hamilton article, De Caire pushed Hamilton Police to continue carding as he claimed Hamilton would be “less safe, and crimes [would] go unsolved” if carding were abolished as a practice. In other words, he felt that profiling black men would help stop crime, as he perceived them to be the primary culprits.

When someone with a background like this is hired at a university with a diverse student body, I can’t help but wonder, how?

De Caire’s hiring involved a board of current university staff from different departments. It even included a representative from the MSU, our current student body president, Ehima Osazuwa.

At what point did this detail about De Caire’s career come up? Did it ever come up? How are the hiring practices at McMaster created without factoring in potential human rights violations at previous places of employment?

McMaster does a perfectly adequate job at hiring competent people. Our university runs smoothly for a reason, and that is in part due to the strong hires running across the faculty and staff. But a stain like this on an otherwise mostly clean record of hires makes it even more alarming.

This year’s Diversity Week emphasized the theme of “Constructing Our Stories.” Its goal was to help the McMaster community better understand the importance of being able to share your narrative and have people accept your story as an intersectional truth. A hire like this runs contrary to the messages of inclusivity and diversity that McMaster pushes. How will racialized students who have been profiled be able to openly tell their story knowing that the security enforcement will not believe them?

During these last few weeks, students and staff have seen firsthand how critical it is to have a space where we all feel safe and can tell our stories without being silenced. A hire like this is a step backward on a campus that is trying to move forward.

Photo Credit: Barry Gray/Hamilton Spectator

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If you have a Netflix account — or like myself, shamelessly log in to a friend’s — you have probably heard of the series Making a Murderer. I was told to watch it because, and I quote, “you will never be more likely to yell at your computer screen." As someone who frequently directs angry outbursts towards her laptop, I was intrigued.

For those who don’t know, the show is a documentary series about a man named Steven Avery and his dubious relationship with his local police department in Wisconsin. The series provides a pretty compelling case that law enforcement framed Avery for rape and murder. The show is gripping. Kudos to Netflix for making what should be boring material fascinating; there are not many things that could convince me to voluntarily sit through hours of court proceedings. While watching I did indeed direct some choice words towards my computer.

I was not alone in my rage. The hashtag #FreeSteveAvery exploded on Twitter, I’ve seen Tinder bios include people’s passionate feelings about the case, and an acquaintance posted a photo on Facebook of them holding a sign reading “Steve Avery is innocent!” at a hockey game. So if the Avery case has forced us to admit that maybe — just maybe — we have systematic failings in our criminal justice system, then why aren’t we able to admit that race may also play a part?

When talking about law enforcement we should be keeping the Black Lives Matter movement in mind, especially when discussing police misconduct. As of last month, the Federal Bureau of Prisons reported that Black inmates made up 37.8 percent of America’s prison population, but only 13.2 percent of the general population. Don’t let yourself believe this is only an American problem. According to Statistics Canada, Indigenous adults represented 26 percent of those taken into custody in 2013 and 2014 while making up only three percent of the population. This is not due to a higher number of Black or Indigenous people committing crimes, but instead flaws in our social and judicial systems that perpetuate systemic racism.

Steve Avery is White, which is not to say that he did not have barriers between him and a just trial. Avery comes from an impoverished family and has an IQ of 70. Throughout the series he is acutely aware of the constraints he faces due to class. The problem is that while his story is a compelling example of the miscarriage of justice, he is not unique. His case is not even the only preposterous high profile example of police and judicial misconduct in recent memory. In 2013, George Zimmerman was acquitted for shooting of the unarmed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. In 2014 a grand jury decided not to indict the police officer that held Eric Garner in an illegal chokehold until he died. In 2015, a grand jury elected not to issue an indictment in connection to the death of Sandra Bland, a woman who died in jail — allegedly a suicide — after being pulled over for failing to signal when changing lanes. If there are countless examples of People of Colour being mistreated by the police and the courts, many of which are just as scandalous or more so than Avery’s case, then why is Making a Murderer about a white man, someone who is statistically underrepresented in American jails?

The answer is that we are much more comfortable relating to, pardoning, and fighting for White criminals, fictional or not. We love our Walter Whites, our Peaky Blinders, our Sopranos, our Boardwalk Empires, our Deadpools, and so on. We aren’t even that concerned if our dubious heroes are less savoury characters. Making a Murderer shows Steven Avery’s disturbing letters to his ex-wife, threatening her with violence, but we forgive him because we are invested in a very specific narrative: a White man being the victim of a miscarriage of justice who deserved better.

So if the Avery case has forced us to admit that maybe — just maybe — we have systematic failings in our criminal justice system, then why aren’t we able to admit that race may also play a part?

Next month is Black History Month, and it would be foolish of us to assume that our work regarding racism is done. It is uncomfortable to think that the people we have been told will protect us — officers, lawyers and judges — may not be as unbiased as we would like to believe. However, if we are willing to defend Steven Avery then we should without hesitation stand up for the Trayvon Martins, the Eric Garners, and the Sandra Blands in our midst.

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By: Huphy Ghayer


Drivers will have to add patience to their new year’s resolutions. A new law requires drivers to wait until a pedestrian has crossed to the other side of a road before proceeding. This law applies to crosswalks identified with specific signs, road markings and lights, as well as crosswalks at stop signs or traffic signals with a school crossing guard present. Drivers will be fined between $150 and $500 for breaking the law.



A $5.60 cut has been put in place for students paying their own hydro bills. This tax used to go towards paying for old nuclear power plants. However, it has now been scrapped to put a little change back in students’ pockets.



With the arrival of winter, it is important to remember to stay safe while driving. A new law brought by the provincial government requires insurance companies to offer incentives for Ontario drivers to purchase winter tires. This provides an opportunity for students to replace worn out tires and ensure a safe winter commute.


58 grocery stores in Ontario are now licensed to sell beer. Smaller brands are legally guaranteed to occupy 20 percent of shelf space, but the brands are on offer will vary from store to store. In Hamilton you can spot the new item at the Queenston Starskys, Mall Road Fortinos, Rymal Food Basics and Queenston Fresh Co.




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