COALITION HOLDS ALTERNATIVE REMEMBRANCE CEREMONY

by the Editors

For the sixth consecutive year, members of the Ottawa White Poppy Coalition (OWPC) held an alternative Remembrance Day ceremony at the National War Memorial.

The ceremony began at 1:00 p.m., about an hour after the official ceremony ended. The wreath laying was attended by over 20 people, as well as several lingering onlookers who attended the official ceremony.

This year’s event had several special foci. First was remembering the two Canadian soldiers who were killed in Canada last month. Second was reminding Canadians that civilian casualties account for an estimated 80 per cent of the total in modern warfare. Third was to recognize “the ongoing suffering of many war veterans due to physical and mental disabilities,” including post-traumatic stress disorder, and the lack of support they receive.

Member Heather Menzies spoke for several minutes in front of the war memorial, noting that she “wear[s] the red poppy for those who step forward when war becomes necessary, and the white to keep asking why: why war should ever be necessary.”

An official statement from the OWPC said the ceremony was “an alternative and comprehensive means of remembering all those who died and are dying, injured or displaced by war: soldier and civilian alike. The white poppy is a symbol for alternatives to war such as conflict resolution. Wearing the white poppy and laying the white poppy wreath is a pledge to work to end war and the suffering it causes.”

The OWPC is comprised of several faith and peace groups, including the Raging Grannies and the Canadian Voice of Women for Peace. The white poppy was first introduced by the Co-operative Women’s Guild in the United States in 1933, to be worn on Nov. 11 after failed efforts to have red poppy badges read “no more war” in the centre. It is intended as a recognition not only of the sacrifices of war but of the necessity for using remembrance of war “as a pledge to peace that war must not happen again.”


CARLETON REWARDS RIDDELL WITH HONORARY DOCTORATE

by the Editors

Carleton University awarded an honorary degree to wealthy oilman Clayton H. Riddell at fall convocation on Nov. 15.

Riddell was bestowed a Doctor of Laws honoris causa “in recognition of his brilliant career in business and thoughtful contributions to higher education, as well as to good governance in Canada.”

Granting the honorary degree to Riddell, the CEO of Paramount Resources, was the latest move in a controversial and ongoing relationship between Riddell and the university.

In July 2012, revelations about a secret donor agreement between the university and Riddell made national headlines and sparked a wide-ranging public discussion about whether privately funded programs compromise academic freedom. These discussions forced the university to renegotiate the terms of the agreement.

However, the Canadian Association of University Teachers criticized the changes as “cosmetic,” and the Carleton University Academic Staff Association wrote in an Aug. 20, 2012 open letter that the secret deal had “done more to damage Carleton University than any other issue or challenge we have faced in the past decade.”

The secret deal in question, signed in 2010, was a $15 million agreement to create and give Riddell executive influence over Carleton’s Clayton H. Riddell Graduate Program in Political Management. Riddell was controversially given the right to appoint a majority of the program’s steering committee, which distributes scholarships, hires instructors, and determines the program’s curriculum.


STUDENT ACTION FORUM FLOURISHES

Ryan McMahon at Student Action Forum, Nov. 16.  Photo: GSA Carleton
Ryan McMahon at Student Action Forum, Nov. 16. Photo: GSA Carleton

by Sam Ponting

On Nov. 5 and 6, the Carleton Graduate Students’ Association and the Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario hosted Carleton University’s inaugural Student Action Forum, bringing dozens of students together from across the campus to collaborate on important student issues.

A variety of workshops were held on various topics, including challenging transphobia and transmisogyny, combating rape culture, student rights and direct action. Students received training in media and communications, alternative budgeting and meeting facilitation.

Native comedian Ryan McMahon, hailing from Winnipeg, Treaty #1 territory, opened the forum with a comedy night. The event was co-hosted by the Centre for Aboriginal Culture and Education and attracted over 150 students and community members. His keynote speech examined how social media and the arts could be used to tell stories and foster social change. McMahon also discussed his exciting project, titled Indian & Cowboy, which he described as “a network of media makers, writers, artists, storytellers, musicians, directors and producers that aim to disrupt, engage and empower by reclaiming our histories through the intersection of media, technology and good old-fashioned Indigenous storytelling.”


 CUSA SEEKS LEGAL COUNSEL REGARDING THE CFS

by the Editors

The Carleton University Students’ Association (CUSA) is currently seeking legal counsel regarding the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS) bylaws on defederation.

The bylaws require a petition, then a referendum, to defederate from the CFS. On Oct. 23, CUSA council voted in favour of mandating the executive to petition students to defederate from the CFS.

In a recent Nov. 12 CUSA Council meeting, when asked about the progress of the CFS petition, CUSA President Folarin Odunayo told the council that CUSA is consulting their lawyers before they move forward.

The CFS and the CFS-Ontario are the largest national and provincial student associations in Canada, and in total they represent over 600,000 students, including Carleton graduate and undergraduate students.


OTTAWANS CONTINUE TO DEMAND JUSTICE FOR MISSING MEXICAN STUDENTS

Rally outside Mexican embassy in Ottawa, Nov. 11.  Photo: Sam Heaton
Rally outside Mexican embassy in Ottawa, Nov. 11. Photo: Sam Heaton

by Caroline Rodriguez-Charette

Another protest was held in Ottawa on Nov. 11 by Canadian students, workers and other collectives in solidarity with 43 missing Mexican students. Protesters voiced their demands for justice and their complete support for the movement to demand justice in Mexico.

New updates are being revealed every day. Latest reports are saying that there was a huge demonstration in Mexico City on Nov. 8, in which protesters lit cars on fire and attempted to burn down the presidential palace.

There will be a vigil on Thursday, Nov. 20 at 6:00 p.m. at the Human Rights Monument on the corner of Lisgar and Elgin to coincide with calls for a general strike in Mexico. Attendees will demand justice from Mexican authorities in the disappearance of the 43 students.

The students have been missing since Sept. 26 when they were captured by police in the city of Iguala de la Independencia, in Guerrero state.

These Briefs first appeared in the Leveller, Vol. 7, No. 3 (Nov/Dec 2014).