May 2011 Archives

By Hanan SleimanScreen shot 2021-05-30 at 12.41.05 PM.png

Approximately 350 million people around the world speak French, as a first or second language. It is known as one of the major Romance Languages; coincidently, it is also considered the most romantic language in the world. Quebec is the only province in Canada with French as its only official language. For years, the Quebecois have been fighting to maintain their language and culture. They were obliged to set laws to prevent English, which is the most common language of Canada, from taking over and completely overriding the French language.

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What an Election!

By Mario Melidona

Screen shot 2021-05-30 at 11.09.01 AM.pngWhat an election Canada had on May 2nd, 2011. We saw two political parties crumble before our very eyes; the re-instatement of our Conservative government with a majority and the decimation of the, often referred as "sovereign political party" in the Bloc Quebecois". Based on the 2011 Federal Elections of Canada, the majority of Québec voters have rejected ideals of sovereignty by the Bloc Quebecois in favor of more cohesive participation in federal politics. What is also being called a "political earthquake" by many all across Canada is the sweeping power of the NDP (New Democratic Party) almost entirely replacing the Bloc Quebecois and what is being held as the "death of the Sovereign movement in Québec". These changes are nationally important to see in detail because these political shifts state the intentions of the voting public.

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Image source: Flickr.


Your Legacy is Calling You

by Dunia Abbas
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As one of those long afternoons spent at the library studying dragged on, I received an email from my management professor inviting me to a conference called "Youth Action Montreal - Local Change, Global Results". My first thought was to just thank her politely and return to my more pressing studies. But after reading the conference's tagline for this year "Living Your Legacy: A Youth Summit on Community Engagement", I couldn't help not clicking on the link and became interested as I read through the list of keynote speakers, which included world-renowned Canadian Environmentalist David Suzuki; the Right Honorable Michaëlle Jean; former UN special envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa Stephen Lewis and Co-founder of Free the Children & Me to We Craig Kielburger. The website also mentioned it was going to feature successful youth projects, but I didn't give that much attention at the time.  In addition, after learning that many of my classmates were going, I decided to tag along and attend the conference.

Image: Canadian Environmentalist, David Suzuki, Flickr.
By Stephane Neron

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Recently, secularism's attack toward Mount Royal's well-known religious landmark arose once more.  On February 8, 2007, the provincial Liberal government in Québec, led by Premier Jean Charest, announced the formation of the "Consultation Commission on Accommodation Practices Related to Cultural Differences."  This was in answer to the dissatisfaction of the population concerning "reasonable accommodations".  This commission, which cost millions, aimed to survey the population in order to determine how secular Québec's society should be.  Regrettably, the exceptional political space created to open up a dialogue between citizens of different cultural/religious backgrounds and the government turned out to create more turmoil, agitation, and discontent than the expected resolutions.  For one, some even proposed to dismantle Mount Royal's cross.

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Image source: Flickr.  


By EchoScreen shot 2021-05-29 at 6.11.06 PM.png


Image source: Flickr

It is no secret that North America and other industrialized countries are facing several health and environmental issues. To solve these problems, a major shift in perceptions is necessary to create awareness. How can one solve a problem if it is not well understood?  One individual cannot change the fate of the world but can make a significant contribution by effecting change within his or her own personal boundaries. Montreal's abundance of farmers markets, small bakeries and butchers makes it a good city to study the food conundrum: buy local or buy global. This essay will compare and contrast the options for completing the mundane task of grocery shopping. The criteria used to evaluate these options will be based on cost, time consumption, health benefits, environmental benefits and economical impact. 



My work has also motivated me to put a lot of time into seeking out good food and to spend more money on it. Michael Pollan


Pollan, a journalist and "foodie activist", best represents a common misconception that local foods are always more expensive. The logic behind this misconception is that supermarkets have the industrial advantage of economies of scale. This term highlights the supermarket's buyer power. In simple terms, for each additional unit purchased, the buyer's cost per unit decreases. Consequently, supermarkets can sell their products at a lower cost. This buyer power can also apply to production costs: the mass agricultural operations supplying the global food market have much lower production costs per unit then the local farmers. In fact, this reasoning is logical but does not represent the reality of the food industry as many variables determine costs. To illustrate this reality, we will use bread.

The prices of the global food market have risen due to an increase in the cost of raw materials such as wheat, sugar and oil (Ryan Charkow, CBC News- SEE FIGURE 1). Bread has been greatly affected because some of its fundamental ingredients experienced the highest fluctuations. As a field experiment, the price of basic sliced white bread from Montreal's famous bakery Première Moisson were compared to the classic sliced white bread from IGA.   IGA's brand and no-brand bread price varies between $2.39 and $3.99. Première Moisson's basic white bread is priced at $2.50.

How did Première Moisson maintain a low price?  Its main wheat and flour suppliers are Quebec-based and partly owned by Première Moisson. This provides Première Moisson with control over some of the raw material costs. For example, the consumption of oil necessary for the basic bread ingredient to travel to the Première Moisson stores. To conclude, the determinants of cost are numerous and so, the advantage truly lies within which entity can devise the best strategic formula to bring value to their customers. Local markets (specialist) have the advantage of flexibility within the range of costs for the product they offer whereas supermarkets (generalist) have the advantage of flexibility in the range of products they offer.

Think Local, Try Local

By Echo Screen shot 2021-05-29 at 5.55.33 PM.pngMontréal is a city known for its cultural diversity, which can be seen from the diverse selection of restaurants and festivals as well as shopping and clubbing venues. Streets like St-Catherine, St-Denis, St-Hubert and Mont Royal are most famous to outsiders for these types of activities, events and places. Unfortunately, many often limit themselves to these hot spots and therefore miss opportunities to uncover hidden gems in Montréal.


A stranger to this city not too long ago, I was determined to discover the core culture in Montréal by finding artifacts that truly belonged to the Québécois culture. One of the gems I found was in an improbable area for the average tourist: the Centre-Sud district.


Historically, the Centre-Sud was an important industrial district during and after the Second World War. Its decline was a result of a mix bag of events such the Révolution Tranquille and Montréal's economic progress focused on the downtown area. As industry players began relocating to better manufacturing real estate, buildings were left abandoned and many became victims of fires. The voids left by these abandoned and empty lots in the community can still be felt. These changes prompted infrastructural and social imbalance. Today, it's an old neighborhood where time has left its mark on the old apartment buildings and the stores at street level. The smell originating from the J.T. McDonald's cigarette factory -one of the last industrial residents- can be overwhelming at times. Recent residential, entrepreneurial and urban developments are slowly rejuvenating this small community. Le Touski, a small work-cooperative café has been acting as a social pillar for this community since 2001.

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