Royal Magazine Photo Contest Winners

“Education is the movement from darkness to light.” – Allan Bloom

First Place

Shirley Dang

BSC in Environmental Science

 

“Think big, dream big, believe big, and the results will be big.” – Evan Carmichael

Second Place

 Rojan Ghasemzadeh

 BA in Professional Communications Program (Year 2)

“Lest you be fooled by my beauty, my caterwauling will keep you awake all night.” – Maggie Glidden

Third Place

 Maggie Glidden

 BA in Professional Communications Program (Year 1)

Dwindling Democracy: The End Of Public Campaign Financing

flickr.com Stephen Harper
flickr.com Stephen Harper

On the first of April this year, a fundamental shift in Canada’s democracy will be complete.

The per-vote-subsidies federal political parties have received since the Liberal government of Jean Chretien in 2004 will be eliminated on this day. The subsidy—in 2011 valued at $2.03 per year per vote—has been gradually lowered by $.51 each April 1st since 2012 as part of the 2011 Conservative budget. The significance of this may seem unclear; but let me assure you, this is a political coup d’etat designed to upend one of the world’s most progressive electoral finance policies and preserve Tory power.

The measure places all burden of campaign funding on private donors. This means that political parties will need to focus heavily on fundraising to ensure they can campaign effectively. The most effective fundraising machine in the Canadian political landscape is the Conservative Party.

According to Elections Canada, the Conservatives raised $18.1 million from 80,135 contributors in 2013—nearly $7 million more cash and nearly 9000 more contributors than the Liberal Party, their nearest competitors. The Conservatives average donation sits at just over $225 while the Liberals sit at just over $155.

This kind of fundraising domination is possible because the Conservatives represent the moneyed interests in our society. Tax cuts and credits, deregulation, and social programming cuts to fund lost revenues dominate their agenda. It is these interests who have money to burn on political campaigns. It is these interests who benefit most from the abolition of per-vote subsidies.

This is because the subsidies have always made up far less of the Conservative war chest than the other major parties. What the subsidies did was level the playing field to some extent; allowing parties to focus on issues important to constituents rather than pandering to the financial elite to fill their coffers. It also ensured parties would be compensated for their public support, rather than just the support of those with enough disposable income to contribute to political parties.

The Conservatives justified this move under the auspices of austerity. According to budget documents, eliminating the subsidies will save $30 million dollars per year. This may be true, but this amount is a tiny drop in a huge budget, one which included tax credits and cuts amounting to far more than this. Was this worth sabotaging a program that ensures a base level of equality in speech? I think not. Nor do I believe savings were the intent.

It is clear the Conservative Party knows they hold the balance of fundraising power. Just as they sought to marginalize populations who wouldn’t typically vote for them with Pierre Poilievre’s ill-fated voter identification legislation last year, they are seeking to silence millions of voters whose only choice for giving to their party of choice lies at the ballot box. By taking political capital from these people, they are striking a major blow to their political foes by choking financial resources needed to effectively campaign.

The near total lack of coverage of this issue since the 2011 budget measures is inexcusable. It is the duty of our media to constantly question our leaders and in leaving this issue out of editorial pages, they have failed. Political parties will be forced to resort to American-style retail politics, equality of speech will be eroded, and near-hegemonic power will be afforded to one political party.

If we refuse to act against these measures—at the ballot box and beyond—we are allowing the subversion of our democracy. It is a quiet, unassuming tyranny, but a tyranny nonetheless. Be aware of the implications and fight back with your words and votes in 2015.


Article by Mike Westwick

Connect with Mike on Twitter @westwick_m

Album Review: Dan Mangan + Blacksmith, Club Meds

Review: Dan Mangan, Club Meds8.0/10

Arts and Crafts, 2015

Vancouver native Dan Mangan has quietly evolved into one of Canada’s premier indie troubadours.

From the quiet, unassuming indie-folk of his 2003 debut EP All at Once, to the orchestral swells of 2011’s Juno Award winning Oh Fortune, we have seen Mangan gradually add layers to his singer-songwriter balladry. With the highly-anticipated release of Club Meds—the first album credited to Dan Mangan + Blacksmith—we see his sound move further away from the established  template he has worked with over the past decade.

Mangan is now positioned as a bandleader rather than solo artist, freeing him and his band to experiment with soundscapes and song structures not necessarily found in his prior work. The reverb soaked, mid-tempo pieces that dominate the album are reminiscent of legendary former label mate Broken Social Scene’s more atmospheric work. These ambient tendencies are tempered by Mangan’s knack for witty lyricism and fat-free composition, ensuring punch isn’t sacrificed for moodiness. This carries the album through some of its duller moments.

Album opener Offred’s wistful electronics and lumbering, off kilter beat complement the sparse, emotive guitars and desperate vocals that fill out the mesmerizing track. It sets the tone for the rest of the record— a decidedly introspective affair—letting audiences know they shouldn’t expect another Robots or Road Regrets. Vessels unfolds similarly, with a huge amorphous piano riff acting as lede while a well-placed horn and guitar freak-out acts as kicker; an outstanding, moody slow burn. Mouthpiece—the most conventional track on the album—follows. Its shimmering, dense reverb, interlocking lead lines, and cutting gang vocals enhance the relentless guitar and drum attack evoking fear, anxiety, and uncertainty more successfully than Mangan has on prior records.

The album’s middle section is where Mangan and company fall flat at times. The pacing tends to drag, promising starts languishing in repetition or overreach. Kitsch strives for nuance and gradual progression, but crushes itself under the weight of its own ambitions. The clever guitar lead and gravelly vocals end up buried below a cacophony of repetition and messy mixing. The reach is admirable, but the result is an unsatisfying, mediocre dirge. War Spoils similarly flounders, Mangan’s vocals feeling distant behind the foreboding, droning atmosphere. It’s like Godspeed You! Black Emperor with none of the anticipation or emotional crescendo.

However, these missteps bring us to the thrilling conclusion of the album. The eerily aloof synth lines of the title track flow into the noisy, dynamic electronics and nervous rhythms of Pretty Good Joke, but the true peak of the record comes at its close. New Skies is a sprawling work, moving from an unassuming intro to a breathtaking climax of swirling horns and guitar that feels like the demons of Mangan’s soul being violently exorcised. The instrumental cluster-fuck and disorienting emotional rawness of the track is oddly reminiscent of 30, closer of Danny Brown’s brilliant 2011 album XXX. The appeal of emotional authenticity transcends genre taste, tradition, and tendency; it is what connects all great art.

Dan Mangan + Blacksmith have put together an album that, while imperfect, manages to move the sounds we associate with Mangan in brave new directions. It may alienate some fans, making it even more admirable. It’s boring when artists sit on their haunches; content to wallow in sameness and mediocrity, floating through their careers on autopilot. Club Meds is Dan Mangan’s rejection of stagnancy; a successful one at that. He and his band have managed to make one of the nascent year’s finest Canadian indie albums; besting anything Mangan has done before in the process. Adventure is a beautiful thing when it turns out well.


By Mike Westwick

Connect with Mike on Twitter @westwick_m

 

Seahawks Progress to Super Bowl Despite Lackluster Passing Game

Courtesy Flickr.com nojuanshome
Courtesy Flickr.com nojuanshome

“Whoa…that was a little too close for comfort,” was the collective sigh of relief for thousands of Seattle Seahawks fans across the Pacific Northwest. Seattle rallied back from a 16-0 first half deficit to beat the Green Bay Packers 28-22 in overtime and return the defending Super Bowl Champions to back to back championship games.

The Seahawks won the game on a 35-yard touchdown reception in overtime by Jermaine Kearse. In each of the four previous quarters of regulation football, Kearse had been targeted by quarterback Russell Wilson, and the University of Washington product was picked off on each occasion, including two perfectly thrown balls, which were tipped by Kearse into waiting defenders hands.

Also, in the first half of Sunday’s NFC Championship, the Seattle return game was equally inept as the offence was, with Seattle’s top receiver, Doug Baldwin, turning over the ball on the kick-off return after the Packers put their first field goal points on the board.

The Seattle offence, as was the case in the regular season goes through Marshawn Lynch. Lynch ran for 157 yards and tallied one touchdown to give Seattle their first lead in the game in the fourth quarter.

Seattle has been without a top receiver since trading Percy Harvin to the New York Jets back in October. Harvin was dealt as result of mediocre performance on the field and  reports of altercations including fights with Doug Baldwin and former teammate Golden Tate. Harvin was used as the primary kick returner during his short stint with the Seahawks and scored a beautiful touchdown on the opening second half kickoff in Super Bowl XLXIII. After the trade, the team did not replace the former pro-bowler with another top receiver. The Seahawks elected to have Russell Wilson use a myriad of receivers for the remainder of the season, but with no main threat coming to the forefront.

The Seahawks receiving corp has been very green this season. The team was using rookie receivers Paul Richardson(suffered season ending knee injury in divisional playoff win vs Carolina), Kevin Norwood and Ricardo Lockette regularly in the receiving corp, second-year wideout Chris Matthews, fifth-year Bryan Walters, third-year receiver Jermaine Kearse playing every down as well as being lead by fourth-year man Doug Baldwin. Combined in the Seahawks lineup is 14-years of experience in the wide out position.

Baldwin was arguably the third receiver last year behind Sidney Rice(he was injured after Week 6 and retired before this season) and Golden Tate who lead the team in receiving yards with 898. Baldwin had 788 receiving yards last year, and 825 this year. His nearest team mate, Jermaine Kearse had 537 yards receiving this season.

They’ve been able to win by committee, but will the existing committee be enough to beat a very experienced New England Patriots defence? “Y’all didn’t believe in us,” said Seahawks receiver Doug Baldwin, “16-0, in the first half, how many of y’all counted us out? How many of y’all doubted us? It’s indicative of our entire season. Y’all don’t want to believe in us, it’s okay. You ain’t gotta believe in us because we’re going to believe in ourselves.”

But people’s belief certainly wavered after that 16-0 first half deficit. Many may have been thinking that this inexperienced group just got beat by the Packer’s stronger receiving corps led by Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb. But Baldwin and his Seahawk teammates weren’t phased by the hold they had dug themselves, “You don’t win the game in the first half, you win in the second half, and what do we do? We come out and we do what we do, we play Seahawks football! We got an opportunity to do what we love, and we’ll see y’all in the Super Bowl!”

The real saviour for the Seahawks offensively has been the running game led by  Marshawn Lynch and Russell Wilson. Lynch racked up 1,306 yards on the ground while the starting QB tallied 849 yards.

The Hawks defence has also followed up last year’s Super Bowl win with an equally stingy defence this year, keeping teams to the fewest yards against(267.1 YPG during regular season) in the league. The defence did manage two takeaways, but gave up 306 yards of offence to Green Bay on Sunday.

Fans of the team can only hope that the team’s defence and run game can lead them past New England in Super Bowl XLIX February 1st.


 

By Zameer Karim

The Royal Horoscope: January

Are you curious to find out what’s in store for you this month? Look no further…

Aquarius: January 20 – February 18

Asking for help is not a sign of weakness, Aquarius. The full moon on the 4th will help you to feel more comfortable with opening up and asking others for help. Once you ask for help, you will be ready for the New Year and a new you.

Pieces: February 19 – March 20

You are a very mellow person, Pieces, but you are not afraid to show your every emotion: good and bad. This will be no exception when Mars and Neptune meet on the 19th. Before then, try not to get flustered and aggravated when you get in a sticky situation between friends.

Aries: March 21 – April 19

January has many good things in store for you, Aries. The full moon on the 4th will bring you luck in the New Year. Your New Years resolution will be easy to achieve, as long as you stay patient, my ambitious Ram. This will bring you confidence as the Sun moves into Capricorn on the 20th.

Taurus: April 20 – May 20

You are a very private person Taurus—and you prefer to keep it that way—but you have been dying to get something off of your chest. Mars will help to give you courage to be open about your feelings towards a special someone until the 12th. Your ruling planet, Venus, is moving into Aquarius making this your powerhouse month for communication.

Gemini: May 21 – June 20

Gemini’s are always ready for anything. You expect the unexpected, which will be very important this month when the moon moves into Gemini on the 1st. You will be ready for anything and everything, making you the life of the party. It is important to keep this momentum as Mercury will try to slow you down on the 21st. 

Cancer: June 21 – July 22

Balance is a key aspect of a Cancer’s everyday life. When the full moon moves into Gemini on the 4th, you will feel rejuvenated and ready for the New Year. With your newfound peace of mind, you will be able to focus on developing new friendships and building on old ones. 

Leo: July 23 – August 22

The cosmos are aligning in your favour, Leo. The sun will help you focus on taking care of yourself this New Year—something that you have not done in a while. It is time to relax and look back on your year, while setting goals for the New Year. This reflection will bring you newfound knowledge about yourself when Venus is in Aquarius from the 3rd to the 27th.

Virgo: August 23 – September 22

You are a social and outgoing individual, Virgo. These traits will be enhanced when the sun moves into Aquarius on the 20th, making you very flexible and ready for a fresh start this New Year. With a fresh start comes a new opportunity to communicate and enhance your friend list.

Libra: September 23 – October 22

It is time for you to relax, Libra. It has been a very stressful year for you, but that is behind you now. Venus will bring you comfort this month, starting your year off with a good mindset. This feeling will be enhanced when Mars is in Aquarius on the 12th.

Scorpio: October 23- November 21

Luck is on your side this month, Scorpio. You can do anything and everything you want. This truth will bring you positive energy and enthusiasm starting on the 12th. Try to keep this energy as the sun moves into Aquarius and slows you down on the 20th.

Sagittarius: November 22 – December 21

Your family and friends are extremely important to you, Sagittarius. The moon is colliding with Gemini and is helping you to focus on your relationships. Mars will bring you the chance to spend more time with your loved ones until the 12th—use this time wisely.

Capricorn: December 22 – January 19 

It is very rare that you are at a loss for words, Capricorn. This month you will have to work on your communication skills when the sun is in Capricorn until the 20th. This practice will help you to rekindle with a blast from a past this New Year.


Horoscopes brought to you by BAPC’s resident “astrologist”, Kate Church.

Recipe: Poutine

 

HISTORY OF POUTINE

There are many, unconfirmed claims to have invented the poutine, dating from the late 1950s through to the 1970s, in the Victoriaville area—about one hour outside of Montreal.

One thing is for certain: poutine was born in rural Quebec in the 1950s.

The most widespread story is that poutine originates from a restaurant called Le Lutin qui rit in Warwick, in the Arthabaska region. In 1957, a client named Eddy Lainesse purportedly asked the cook, Fernand Lachance, to mix the cheese curds with the fries.

Another story relates to a long-standing restaurant called Le Roy Jucep in Drummondville, Quebec. The story claims that in circa 1964, restaurant owner Jean-Paul Roy saw some of his customers putting cheese curds on their French fries and gravy; this gave him the idea of creating the mixture himself and offering it on the menu. Jean-Paul Roy is the first person to have served poutine as we know it today. Authentic Canadian poutine features deep-fried potatoes, gravy, and white cheddar cheese curds tossed together into one dish.

Poutine has become increasingly popular in the last few years.

Although many people outside of Quebec pronounce poutine as “poo-teen”, the correct pronunciation—at least in Quebec—is “poo-tin”.

IMPORTANCE OF POUTINE

The poutine grew popular in the small towns of southeastern Quebec before arriving in Quebec City in 1969, and in Montreal in 1983. At that time, poutine became a common offering on menus in Quebec.

As poutine’s popularity spread, various iterations began to appear, such as Italian poutine (made with spaghetti sauce in place of gravy, or sausage), veggie poutine (made with mushroom sauce and vegetables) and Irish poutine (made with lardons). It now comes in a plethora of modern variations from duck confit to pulled pork, and is even served in fast food restaurants nation-wide.

Poutine is becoming a symbol of regional cultural diversity in Quebec.

HOW TO MAKE POUTINE

Making authentic poutine is not simply a matter of getting French fries, adding cheese, and pouring gravy on top: There are certain requirements for each of the three components in the meal.

1.  Prepare the gravy.

In a large saucepan, melt the butter. Add the flour and cook, stirring regularly for about 5 minutes, until the mixture turns golden brown. Add the garlic and cook for a further 30 seconds. Add the beef and chicken broth and bring to a boil, stirring with a whisk. Stir in the cornstarch and simmer for 3 to 5 minutes or until the sauce thickens. Taste and add additional salt, if necessary, to taste. Make ahead and re-warm or keep warm until your fries are ready.

2.  Prepare the fries.

Choose potatoes that are good for frying: new red potatoes are ideal. Prepare potatoes by rinsing and cutting into 1/2-inch thick sticks. When ready to cook the potatoes, heat the oil in a heavy skillet or deep fryer. Add the potatoes and fry until a crispy golden brown. Set on paper towels or cloth towels to drain.

3.  Add the cheese curds and gravy.

Add fries to a large, clean bowl and cover with fresh cheese curds. The best curds are real Quebecois curds. Finally, top fries with hot gravy.

OPTION: Be creative and add meat and/or vegetables. 


By Song Zhe
Royal Roads University Student

A Very Newd Experience at “Big Fun”

We stood there completely naked.

It was 2 a.m. in Tokyo and we were in a bathhouse with 100 Japanese women—fully nude. If this isn’t stepping outside of one’s comfort zone, I don’t know what is. How did we end up here? Let’s rewind two hours and I’ll explain.

The women at the information desk giggled as if we should have booked this hotel five years in advance, “No, sorry, hotel full,” she said in her broken English. “Are you sure, totally full?” I pleaded, my eyes full of sleep and my body begging to be horizontal. We had been traveling for 24 hours and there we were standing in the Tokyo airport at midnight, with no place to stay. The trains were done for the day and a taxi to anywhere would cost us about the same as a kidney sold on the black market. We wanted so badly to bite the bullet and go to the nearest plushy airport hotel, but refrained as we could already hear our credit cards screaming. We eyed up the white tile floor and single metal bench that made up the arrivals area, before deciding this was not an option.

The sweet woman at the information desk—bless her heart—suggested we go to Big Fun. She proceeded to rummage through a pile of papers and pulled out a pamphlet that was 99.9% in Japanese aside from “STAY 3300¥”. I did the quick math in my sleepy brain and realized that was only $33 Canadian. Now we’re talking! All we needed to know was what exactly was Big Fun?  Due to the confused look on our faces, she tried her best to explain in English what it was, “Nice reclining chairs, big bath, free shuttle”. We liked those words and decided the Big Fun option was really our only option. I waved the Big Fun pamphlet at anyone who would look at me and attempted to find where this alleged shuttle bus was hiding. We finally found it—only God knows how—and piled on the bus at 1 a.m. with 50 Japanese people; they looked at us like we were from another planet and we kind of felt like we were.

Skip forward 30 minutes and we were at Big Fun: a building that looked like a mall. We followed the crowd of people and did what they did, having no idea where to go nor a clue what to do. We locked our shoes in individual shoe lockers, paid the nightly fee, and we were given bags that contained two towels and a set of pajamas. We were on our own, aside from the sweet Japanese front desk staff trying their best to use charades to tell us where to go. The signs around the building were thankfully in English and Japanese so between the charade attempts and the signs that said “relaxation room” and “women’s change” we kind of got the idea. We slowly realized that this was a bathhouse, or an onsen: something we later realized is very common in Japan. I had a distant memory that these onsens are to be entered completely nude.

Shay Daviau and Kristin Arneson
Shay Daviau and Kristin Arneson

To avoid being the odd ones out who went in naked when others were clothed, I attempted to peer into the onsen to see if everyone else was naked. Upon feeling creepy, we tried our best at charades and asked two young Japanese girls what to wear; they managed to explain that we needed to take everything off. We gasped at each other, shocked that we were about to go into a bathhouse, nude, with 100 other Japanese woman. The Japanese girls giggled and attempted to show us how to use the towel as some sort of a loincloth. We thanked them and stripped down to nothing but a towel that was the size of a face cloth.

There we were, amidst 100 Japanese women, completely nude. I think some people have nightmares about this kind of thing: being completely naked in a room full of strangers.

For us it was a large step, or rather a leap—straight out of our comfort zones and right into Japan.

We didn’t slowly ease into Japan like we thought we would, we had suddenly jumped in with two feet (literally). We sat there in the indoor hot spring baths, tried out the different types of saunas, and felt increasingly obese as we compared ourselves to the tiny Japanese woman. It was surprisingly relaxing after so many hours of travel, regardless of how far away from home we felt at that moment. Later on we found an actual—and much needed—shower, which luckily came with all the fixings: shampoo, conditioner, body wash, and even disposable razors. Unfortunately and unluckily, the showers were two glass walled cubicles smack dab in the center of the whole hot springs area. It felt like we were on display, and although slightly unsettling, we went for it anyways.

After our very public showers, we changed into our pajamas and went to the “relaxation room”. Picture this: a large dark room full of 200 leather reclining chairs, full of snoring Japanese folks. While we couldn’t find any chairs beside each other, we settled for two on either side of a snoring 80-year-old Japanese man. We were lulled to sleep by the buzz of snores around us.

I was told when traveling to “expect the unexpected”. Cliché as that might be, in my experience it has rang true more often than not. As unsettling and weird as something may be in the moment, I can assure you that a week later it will be hilarious.

A good story always comes from an experience that has a few quirks.

Stepping way out of your comfort zone is the only way to have interesting experiences, even if those turn out to be newd experiences.


By Shay Daviau
Royal Roads University Student