Archive | February 2013

The Telegraphed Gazette. 23 February 2013

Greetings ladies and gentlemen: welcome back to the Telegraphed Gazette for the 23rd of February 2013. My name is Vince, bringing you the latest round up of weekly news from Quebec, and from the games industry. I figured that since I write mostly on Quebec politics, and only some of my stories are related to Montreal, I would change up the introduction a bit to reflect the true nature of this gazette. You can leave suggestions for future editions in the suggestions tab at the top of the page. In the headlines today: OLF backs down after realizing that their inspection of an Italian Restaurant was overzealous, navy spy is eligible for conditional release after 3 years, and Sony’s new PlayStation 4 will leverage Gaikai’s cloud service.

Montreal_meme

The Office Quebecois de la Langue Francais has backed away from their case against an Italian Restaurant for using the word “pasta.” The OQLF spokesperson stated that the inspection was based on the fact that in Quebec, at least half the text on any menus in any restaurants must be in French; however the restaurant would not face action over one or two words. An addition was later made to the spokesperson’s statement in that the OQLF will take into account the nature of the restaurant in that it offers foreign specialities to consumers, rather than local goods. Apart from the word “pasta,” the word: “bottiglia” was also noted as one of the violating words in which the OQLF was sent to investigate: “bottiglia” is used to indicate the wine selection on the menu by bottle. Since the incident, and the subsequent social media uproar over this, the OQLF have backed down and have stated that they will get back to the public once they have completed their investigation of the case. Initial thought: oh great, the language cops are at it again. This time however they are targeting a restaurant for using the word “pasta” in their menu. Does the OQLF really have nothing better to do with their time, so they go around places poking at every little detail, and drafting reports on violations that are not really violations? Now if the menu was completely in English, Italian, or Chinese, I can understand. Heck here in the lower mainland in Chinese Restaurants, they have two types of menus: one entirely in Chinese characters, and the other bilingual. Now I can see how frustrating it is when one cannot even understand what is on the menu, but a single word? The OQLF has to poke at a single word that has no significant meaning other than to denote that it is a plate of noodles? Looking on the Facebook page of the group: “Put the flag back in Quebec Assembly,” it would appear that the social media world has dubbed this the: “Pastagate” scandal; a bit of a parody of the Watergate scandal when President Nixon of the United States of America was in office. Hopefully the OQLF will drop the case entirely, or simply ask the restaurant owners to have a French equivalent on their menu: the simple most basic thing, rather than going in with guns blazing and demanding the owner remove “pasta” or face the power of the fines. The links to the stories are located in the addresses below this paragraph.

http://www.sunnewsnetwork.ca/sunnews/politics/archives/2013/02/20130220-135808.html

http://www.cjad.com/CJADLocalNews/entry.aspx?BlogEntryID=10506311

The Parole Board of Canada states that former naval officer – Jeffrey Paul Delisle – is eligible for conditional release in three years. Delisle, who plead guilty to charges under security-of-information laws, received a 20 year sentence by a Nova Scotia Judge; however the judge noted the time served while in pretrial custody, which brings the amount of time to be served down to 18 years and five months. The parole board mentioned that Delisle will become eligible for unescorted temporary leaves in March 2016, with day parole as soon as September 2018: whether or not the actual hearing will grant him the parole is another question entirely, and remains to be seen. Now this was a case that has brought great shame to the military community as one of their own officers would sell intelligence to a foreign nation of whom our relations with are not as – how should I word this – comfortable, as we would like it to be. Now here was the interesting twist to the story: Delisle was not conducting standard espionage operations in regards to military intelligence and government documents, but rather the clients he was spying for – the Russians – wanted Delisle to dig up information on the Russian Mafia. Now it must be made clear that this kind of action, regardless of what sort of information he was collecting, is a violation of the trust the Canadian people and the government: something that Delisle should have thought about carefully before going about conducting this sort of operations. For now though, what can be said is hopefully the parole board will deny him his request, and insist he serve his full sentence. Any other country on this earth would have hung Delisle for treason, or a similar charge; yet our courts decided to try him in a civilian setting, which went on to hand him a 20 year sentence for his actions. Now looking into the criminal code; treason under section 42 subsection 2b warrants a sentence not exceeding 14 years (in times of peace); something which I think the judges may not have chosen to enact as the sentence given to Delisle is about 20 years total and was under the security-of-information laws.

The question remains however; why not a military tribunal? Now sadly I do not have a copy of the military legal code on my desk, but would it not be in the best interest of both the military and the government to sentence Delisle to a military correctional facility? We do have those in Canada; admittedly they are rare, but we do have some in the country. Delisle should face the music in a military court, rather than receive the graces of a civilian court: this is just my opinion of course. I trust the judges made the correct choice, however disagreeable it may be, I am not in their shoes, nor do I have the training that they possess in order to pass judgement on Delisle; for in reality my statement of him serving in a military correctional facility, however supported with evidence it may be, was stated under the blanket of anger. Several legal courses have taught me never to pass judgement in a moment of passion, and I will hold myself to that statement. Anyways, let me know what you guys think in the comments section below: does he deserve to be executed? What other punishments should a spy receive? Should he even be punished at all? While you are pondering at what to say, have a look at the links related to this story in the addresses below this paragraph.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/story/2013/02/19/ns-delisle-spy-parole.html

http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/story/2013/02/06/f-vp-stewart-russia-mob.html

The PlayStation 4 console will now utilize cloud gaming services according to an article on Gamasutra.com. The list of services that Gaikai will provide to Sony for the PlayStation 4 include storefront streaming where players can sample a game and purchase it digitally should they desire; spectating between players will also be a feature allowing players to view matches and jump in and out of spectator mode; and finally backwards compatibility whereby older games will be streamed through Gaikai’s service. Now cloud gaming is an interesting concept as the games played are running on another person’s machine and using their specs, which will answer some questions some of you may have regarding the backwards compatibility of the PS4: no the PlayStation 4 will not be able to play the hardcopy versions of PlayStation 3 games. The idea on Sony’s end is that Gaikai will provide the service for players to stream their older titles onto the PS4, but because the games are streamed, the actual hardware will not affect the game whereas if a person were to insert a PS3 game disk, it would fail to load. Now there has been some discussion amongst the games industry as to where Sony wants to bring their console; to which Sony replied that they wish to see users enter a more digital world rather than rely on hardcopies of games. The question then is raised as to whether or not the PS4 will require a constant internet connection to run: the answer is no, but you may want to keep it on to download and/or update games and hardware. However Sony stated that you can go offline totally, and you do not require a constant internet connection. Now Sony stated that it is recommended that the user keep their system on at all times for updating and downloading, but the option to do so is completely up to the user, and they may disconnect from the internet all together.

Now in terms of used games, the Sony Worldwide Studios boss Shuhei Yoshida told Eurogamer.net that the PS4 can play used games. What is interesting about this however is that Sony – while no longer opposed to the used games market – wants users to go digital with their products, which in turn makes it so that a game is permanently theirs and is not available for re-sale. The concept is of course that digital products do not come on a disk, nor do they ship a hardcopy of a game to the user. Instead what ends up happening is the game is downloaded through the users account and onto their machine, in which they can play it as many times as they like, uninstall, and re-download when they wish to play the game again. Apart from leveraging Gaikai as a means to stem the sales of used games – which they see no profit from – the cloud service also enables the user to transfer files and data from one machine to another without running into problems related to hardware such as hard drives not functioning or memory cards not reading on the system itself. What I see in all of this is that Sony will support used games but with an alternate agenda to get their customer base to switch over to digital, thereby cutting off the used games market all together. However here lies the problem: in the United States in particular, internet connections are not as powerful as some of the other nations in the world. The user experience will differ based on geography, which would mean that if Sony wishes to go all digital, it will have a bit of a rough start as many people often rely on hard copies of games rather than download as their internet is unreliable to begin with. I think Sony has its mind in the right direction, but they fail to see the reality; especially given the nature of gaming and the fact that it is a global market rather than a domestic one. The one thing that I – and many other gamers – are relieved to hear is Sony will not prevent used games from running on their consoles. Now it is up to Microsoft to announce their next generation console and what they plan to do with it. Hopefully they will allow some backwards compatibility, and used games: something that – in my opinion – will greatly benefit the console in the long run. You can find the story and related links in the addresses below this paragraph.

http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/187022/How_Sonys_PlayStation_4_will_leverage_Gaikais_cloud.php#.USl3M1dWJJN

http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2013-02-21-sony-tells-eurogamer-playstation-4-will-not-block-used-games

http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2013-02-21-playstation-4-does-not-require-an-internet-connection

Well that concludes this week’s edition of the Telegraphed Gazette. Check back next Saturday, March 2nd 2013 for another weekly round-up of key news from Quebec, and from the games industry. This has been Vince, and I will see you next time.

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Update. 18 February 2013

Good morning folks,

While reading through the gazette I published on Saturday, I felt that the column piece was a bit rushed as certain aspects of that felt disjointed and overall lacked consistency. Thus I have gone in there to revise a bit here and there to ensure that the piece flowed as smoothly as possible. I’m sorry if that piece was not up to snuff: it felt up to standards on Saturday when I posted it to my gazette, but I may have overlooked that detail. Whatever the case, repairs have been made, and all should be well today.

If you haven’t gotten the chance to read the latest edition of the gazette, here’s the link:

https://thoughtsandtopics.wordpress.com/2013/02/17/the-telegraphed-gazette-16-february-2013/

Right, well that’s about all I wanted to say for this update. Tune in this coming Saturday, February 23rd for another edition of the Telegraphed Gazette. This has been Vince, and I will see you next time.

The Telegraphed Gazette. 16 February 2013

Ladies and gentlemen welcome back to the Telegraphed Gazette for the 16th of February 2013. My name is Vince, bringing you the latest round-up of news from Montreal, and from the games industry. You can leave suggestions for future editions in the suggestions tab at the top of the page. In the headlines today: Marois takes a firm stance against accommodating religious minorities, Layoffs at McGill University a possibility, and the Australian games industry is about to receive a 20 million dollar boast.

Marois

Premier Pauline Marois has no issue with speaking her mind when at the Parti Quebecois’s conference in Drummondville, Quebec; she stated that she was against accommodating religious minorities, citing: “Quebec values must be respected.” Alongside this statement, Marois also reaffirmed her commitment to restrict English private schools, in which she received a burst of applause; her solidification of Quebec values also received a standing ovation 30 seconds in duration. Alright this is quite the show that the Premier has put on for her political storm troopers: Marois is definitely the poster lady for the Parti Quebecois in that she is in support of a unilingual Quebec, a culturally homogenous Quebec, and her supporters are dazzled by her every word as it is clearly written in the article. I honestly hoped that the PQ would be more reasonable, and that despite their sovereignty agenda, the cooler heads in the party would have prevailed and ultimately they would put aside the bleeding heart sensation and start to look onward into the future. Reading this short article has told me otherwise, and it is a real shame that the province is going through this: “growing pain.” That said however, if she means limiting accommodation in the form of banning religious courts, tribunals, and promoting a more moderate practice of a particular religion; then there is reason. The problem here though is that cjad.com has not offered much detail in regards to her speech, only writing on the fact that she has pledged to restrict access to English private schools as a way to prevent Francophone Quebecers from using the current loophole to jump from a French-language school to an English-language school; that and her vow to take a firm stance against religious accommodation. Now what I can understand is if gender equality was threatened by a certain interpretation of a religion; then I would throw in my support behind her cause. Yet the article is vague and has little detail apart from the rough report provided. Alongside this confusion is this question: what does she mean by “Quebec values?” These values, are they in favour of gender equality, and a multi-ethnic population? Quebec values, are they in support of solidarity and constant improvement of self? These lovely values, are they all for equal access to education, and the love of all your fellow citizens? The reader of the cjad.com article will have no way of knowing, and will have to do some digging to find out what “Quebec values” really are. See I cannot simply say her speech was good or bad – aside from the restrictive measures on education – because she may be fighting against gender inequality and racial discrimination. Tolerance can only go so far before it starts to come into conflict with our beliefs in areas such as gender equality; as some radical versions of religions treat women as property, and not as a person. This comes back to the initial question: what does Marois mean by Quebec values? This statement needs some dissecting and analysis: in the mean time have a read at the article and tell me what you think of this, and how you interpret this statement in the comments section below.

http://www.cjad.com/CJADLocalNews/entry.aspx?BlogEntryID=10501834

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With the disappearance of subsidization, and the absence of a tuition increase, universities in Quebec are really tight on their budgets this year. One school in particular, McGill University, could be laying off a fairly sizeable chunk of their employees according to the Montreal Gazette article published February 13th. With the removal of 100 arts courses, graduate students employed at McGill are already coming to terms with their job cuts which have already occurred. Now staff – who are mostly in the support staff section – could also see their jobs chopped as McGill University struggles to make up for the shortfall in their budgets. I think it is safe to say that you – my readers – know the rest of the words to this fable. Indeed it is a very depressing time for those folks living in the city of Montreal as the schools are fighting to stay afloat; all the while Marois goes about her routine of sovereignty agenda promotion and English-language extermination. This is rather depressing to watch unfold as Quebec is a beautiful province with a rich history and unique identity in North America. Once again we arrive to this key point: the fact that the party in charge is the one party Quebecers feel the least connected with, if there was even a connection in the first place. I just am at a loss of words here: disgust would be one, disappointment and sadness would be the other two – off the top of my head – that would best describe my mood regarding this situation. Flood damage, budgetary shortfalls, and a lack of funding could spell the end of McGill’s reputation as the best university in this country, and one of the top universities in the world. How can McGill University remain at the top of the list if there is a lack of funds to pursue research, and provide the best education to students? A bloody mess, with no end in sight: sad stuff indeed. The link to this story, as well as additional links to relevant articles is located in the addresses below this paragraph.

http://www.montrealgazette.com/business/Layoff+fears+loom+over+McGill+campus/7961227/story.html

http://www.montrealgazette.com/news/Free+tuition+agenda+Marois+tells+youth+wing/7941052/story.html

http://www.montrealgazette.com/news/Former+Parti+Qu%C3%A9b%C3%A9cois+premier+Jacques+Parizeau/7954225/story.html

The Australian games industry is about to receive a 20 million dollar boast according to Gamasutra.com. Screen Australia, the Australian Government’s funding organization for screen production industry, is set to add 20 million dollars to help keep games development jobs in Australia and: “counteract job migration and falling foreign investment in the country” (Gamasutra.com). Games cited as successes made in Australia include L.A. Noire, Real Racing, and Fruit Ninja. Over the next 12 months the company plans on handing forth 4-5 million dollars for games production, and 2-3 million dollars for: “supporting sustainability of game development business, amongst other funding efforts”(Gamasutra.com). Now this is good news indeed as Australian game developers have been at the forefront of some of the most memorable and enjoyable titles on the market. The one series I can think of that I have directly played is the Star Wars Battlefront series. The games themselves revolve around pitched army battles rather than the overly-used Jedi verses Sith action that we are constantly fed over and over again. Now it is rather refreshing to see some government investment in the games industry, as Australia is having a difficult time with its job market and attracting foreign capital investment. The only thing that really prevents games from being developed in the country is Australia’s censorship laws as any games which portray gruesome violence and gory scenes are censored before being released to the audience. Game developers working in the US however do not have such restrictions, and neither do developers in Europe. What Australia really needs to do is change this legislation, or update it, in order to attract game developers to the country. Stimulus money is useless if the only games a developer can make are Mario cart wannabes, and cooking games. The market is hungry for games like Gears of War, Call of Duty, games like Left 4 Dead, and various other titles: all of whom portray a degree of gore and violence. Now I watched Yahtzee on EscapistMagazine.com and it was surprising to hear that Left 4 Dead – a game about fighting off hordes of zombies – was censored before being released to the Australian population. Now the game was made in the United States so the developers had no issue with the game design, but when exporting it to Australia, they had to censor the game lest they be fighting with the government in court over violation of that particular piece of legislation. Game developers are artists, and hate any form of draconian legislation that virtually limits their game audience to 10 year olds who like to see cute little puppies running about and licking the screen. Developers in Europe have no such restriction, and neither do developers in Japan. Yet anyone who works in the games industry in Australia might have a hard time dealing with this issue as the country itself does not allow for games like Gears of War or Left 4 Dead to come into the market without first being heavily censored. Adding the fact that games conferences are held in either Germany for Pax in Europe, or in the United States; developers are even less likely to live in a country far from the centers of industry, so to speak. Stimulus money is nice, but a change in the laws surrounding games would be even sweeter, and could lead to developers returning to Australia as there is both money to work with, and creative freedom to take advantage of in the process. The link to this article is located in the address below.

http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/186768/Australian_games_industry_to_be_bolstered_by_20M_in_funding.php#.UR8StGdfJJM

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/videos/view/zero-punctuation/1191-Left-4-Dead-2-New-Super-Mario-Bros-Wii

Right that concludes the news portion of the gazette. Now why have I decided to conclude the gazette a little early? The answer is simple: a column is being added into this edition of the gazette which talks about loyalties. Over the past few weeks I have thought about how loyalties form and fracture, and how people switch sides or remain dedicated to one cause. Going through the paces as per usual, I have concluded that there are two different – yet similar – perspectives when it comes to loyalty, in particular loyalty to a country. Let’s begin with the native-born citizen shall we? Keep in mind that my discussion is about countries like Canada, Singapore, and Argentina. I understand that loyalty can also come from fear as well, but for the most part my column is focused on loyalty and the “root cause” of loyalty towards the countries listed above.

Citizens born to a nation would normally go through the paces of education in which they gain – hopefully – an appreciation for what their country has to offer. Now after the process of education, loyalties usually remain strong due to a commitment to a particular country, a sense of home, or a sense of gratefulness for what they have been born into and the need to help better the country in one form or another. However with that said, there is always a risk that loyalties can shatter: sometimes overnight. Birth never guarantees loyalty to any entity.

The citizen can change loyalties when their rose-coloured image of the country is shattered, they see acts of cruelty, or they simply were paid off to switch sides. One thing in particular that is interesting is the sense of gratefulness one holds for a country. Citizens born into a country may not, or never, appreciate what they have in life because they take it for granted. This is – roughly – how immigrants become our most devout supporters. Immigrants choose to immigrate to a particular country – for the most part – and in turn can gain a sense of patriotism due to the fact that their home country was an uninviting environment of turbulence and chaos; whereas their new home of choice granted them numerous opportunities and a chance at a better life. When I dug through the various bits of anecdotal information on the internet, the most common answer to the question of patriotism is the answer of gratitude. Countries like Canada, Australia, Singapore, the United States, Argentina, etc, are fairly comfortable places to live in. The end result is if someone gets the chance to move to one of these nations and numerous others in the world, they may find work, a higher standard of living, and in turn slowly gain a sense of appreciation for what they were able to gain in life. Now this does not mean that foreign born citizens are more – or less – patriotic than the native-born counterpart, but for the most part they see a side of life that native born citizens may not see in their lifetimes. Foreign born citizens see the darker side of life, and where civil war, economic collapse, and/or political turbulence has forced them to flee, they see the importance of stability: something many young people in Canada especially, take for granted.

One must never take for granted anything in life; especially political stability for it was only some 60 years ago that great instability caused the rise of the Third Rich, and the subsequent war to follow which would claim the lives of countless millions in the process. Say what you like about our current government here in Canada, but the stable environment is something which is truly a blessing; for we can have this current party in power, with the political stability of Afghanistan. Would you prefer that instead? Lots of room to move, however the catch is that there is ethnic violence and extremism: fair deal right?

Ultimately the message I mean to communicate in this piece is this folks: loyalty stems from gratitude. Those who are loyal, are grateful for something, and subsequently see the root cause of this gratitude as something worth protecting and improving. This is the seed of loyalty; this is the seed of a nation. This is how people come together and serve a cause; and it is in this seed that a nation will endure for all time. Foreign born or native born: if they are grateful for something in the country, they will answer the call when we need them the most, so have some faith and respect people.

Well that concludes this edition of the Telegraphed Gazette: tune in next week, Saturday February 23rd 2013 for another round up of news and comments from the two most “interesting” sources. My name has been Vince, and I will see you next time.

Telegraphed Gazette. 9 February 2013

Hello and welcome to the Telegraphed Gazette for the 9th of February 2013. My name is Vince, bringing you the last round of select stories from Montreal, the games industry, and (insert other topic here). You can leave suggestions for future editions in the tab at the top of the screen, or in the comments section below. In the headlines this week: The opposition in the National Assembly says that the Parti Quebecois has no mandate to promote separation, CEGEP professors will boycott the education summit, and university underfunding threatens Montreal’s status.

National Assembly of Quebec

The Montreal Gazette this past Monday published a short little piece detailing the opposition parties in the national assembly’s frustration over the PQ government’s plan to promote sovereignty. Minister’s Pierre Moreau – the intergovernmental affairs minister under the previous liberal government – and Moreau both came out publically to criticize Alexandre Cloutier at committee hearings on spending estimates. Now I had a read through of another article done by the gazette related to this topic – the link will be posted below – which details just how the separatist support has been stamped at 30% and holding, neither rising, nor falling. The piece also makes a valid point in that a minority government should primarily be focused on survival, not totting around radical ideas in which could spell the end of their term of office. Now I am certain most of my readers are aware of what is going on, but for those of you who are not, I will bring you up to speed. The PQ government under Marois announced back in January a new sovereignty agenda, which is going to promote the benefits of an independent Quebec, and “display” just how wonderful this new separate country is going to be. This sort of action – especially given the fact that the PQ only has a minority – has upset the opposition parties; all of whom have come out publically to voice their outrage. Adding to the issue is the fact that the PQ government is doing all of this on the public’s dime, with little consideration for other provincial affairs. The situation with the healthcare system in Quebec, as well as the shortfall in funding for post-secondary institutions in Quebec has been largely ignored by the PQ government, who is only interested in independence, and the promotion of independence.

First thought: well great, they are doing exactly what Spain is doing with Gibraltar, in that they are using political games to divert public attention away from more serious problems. The PQ government probably has little to no hope in finding solutions for the issues the province faces, so they simply go into the conference room, whip out the political board game, and start to roll the dice. Second thought: great stuff guys, you are spending public dollars on promoting an ideological agenda when you should be spending the money on other elements like infrastructure, education, and health care. The province of Quebec has some very real problems, and while other provinces fight to keep themselves afloat, Quebec seems to drink away the cash, and then proceeds to hold out its’ hand to ask for more. Now I am all for transfer payments and the idea that all provinces should chip in towards a greater cause, but good lord; Quebec’s provincial government is spending public dollars on political games. The Taxpayer is already struggling with the current economic situation, and will therefore have little to no patience when dealing with a provincial government who decides to invest what little funds they have on petty politics and useless campaigns promising a better future IF you listen and agree with them. It is said over and over in this gazette: this sort of politics is a common occurrence in Quebec, and it is understandable that this is happening now. Yet I find myself constantly wondering: how much longer before we can move past the old wounds? How much longer before I can look at Quebec, and be hard-pressed to find any hardcore PQ nutcase running about?

The answer to that is probably sometime when I am 50, I hope. Here’s hoping that the PQ government gets overturned, and the moderates within the party come into play. Hopefully from that point onwards, we will see Quebec repair itself from the damages done by the PQ government, and move on into a better, brighter future. The links to the topics is located in the addresses below.

http://www.montrealgazette.com/news/mandate+promote+separation+opposition/7916323/story.html

http://blogs.montrealgazette.com/2013/02/05/quebec-sovereignty-are-there-really-92-reasons-to-separate/?postpost=v2#content

Professors teaching at CEGEPs in Montreal plan on boycotting the education summit set to take place near the end of February. According to the Montreal Gazettes article published Wednesday; the professors are upset over the Quebec government’s withdrawal from a previous deal to pay for the hiring of 180 additional teachers across 13 CEGEPs. The proposal to boycott the higher education summit came into view after the Quebec government announced it would not pay for the entire endeavour, and instead only pay half of what was promised. Now the back and forth comes into play in that the government stated that the deal had yet to be ratified, and was therefore subject to change. In contrast to their statement, the group representing the CEGEPs stated that the deal was agreed upon before hand, and that it was all set and ready to go. Now the additional teachers are being hired on due mostly to the disturbance caused by the student protest back in 2012; in other words the classes missed are now being “repaired” by the additional sessions. Now here is the interesting part: the PQ offered to subsidize the universities and CEGEPs in place of a tuition hike, thus prompting them to gain a fairly sizeable support base from the student body. However once they were in power, before the holidays they axed the tuition subsidy, and then opted to further decrease the portion of the budget normally allocated towards higher learning.

This sort of back-peddling happens in politics sadly, and with the whole fight over university finance still going on, the PQ government ought to smarten up if they wish to remain in office until the end of their term. Presently the PQ government has sought to promote a sovereignty agenda, all the while slowly walking away from various deals that had previously stated they would endorse: increasing subsidization for post-secondary institutions is the prime example here. Unfortunately, the PQ government is unwilling to switch gears and move towards fixing this issue as they are too dedicated towards promoting what the PQ specialize in, and what they ultimately hope to achieve. The most difficult aspect of this truth to swallow is the fact that a large portion of university and CEGEP students are caught right in the middle of all of this. Canadian students from outside the province wishing to attend any of the universities in Quebec, should either look to ones who focus less on research, and may therefore be more affordable, or avoid the province completely. This sort of instability is unhealthy for academic work, and as a student the main priority would be to complete the program of choice, and hopefully build a resume at the same time. Yet one cannot prevent those deeply committed to the idea from going, so here’s hoping that the problem will at least be somewhat patched before the fall of this year. Otherwise we could see yet another cohort of students fall into the mess that currently exists, which could delay their studies, further increasing the loan amount withdrawn. Oh what a painful endeavour that would turn out to be: you go to another province to experience the culture and get an education, but instead due to the political climate, you wind up with – quite literally – a mountain of debt. The link to this story is located below this paragraph.

http://www.montrealgazette.com/news/CEGEP+profs+also+boycott+Summit+Higher+Education/7928158/story.html

Underfunded universities could damage Montreal’s reputation as Canada’s education center according to a group of university representatives at a meeting between Montreal’s nine universities. The article published on the 4th of February by the Gazette, explains that Montreal’s universities receive the most funding for research, and that if they are to continue on this road of underfunding by the provincial government, their reputation as a leading city in Canada could be damaged. Michel Leblanc, president and CEO of the board of trade, stated that this strength cannot be taken for granted, and that the universities are important for the society of Montreal. Ultimately what the article is getting at is the nine universities within Montreal are fearful that they will soon lose their status as a university metropolis: similar to Boston or Oxford.

Well this is nothing new to be honest: the provincial government has already stated that it would no longer add additional subsidization, and that they would also reduce the portion of the budget intended for post-secondary education on grounds that the sky-high deficit needs to be reduced. The sad reality will be that Montreal’s universities will have to dig in and hope for the best when the summit rolls around. Now I must be frank, I have little idea off the top of my head of what the summit is actually intended to do, or what is the motive for its existence. Now these representatives can preach and cry out all they like, but if the provincial government is not being pressured from within the national assembly, then it will do what it pleases for the time being. Campaign promises – sadly – are most often just words, and can be retracted should the situation warrant such action. That is the problem with elections in general: it is a popularity contest, and one that has serious repercussions. The Parti Quebecois never signed any document stating that they “had” to increase subsidization in lieu of a tuition hike. Ultimately what this means is whatever the universities do – for now – is futile. Now most of the universities in Montreal are research universities; I would like to see how Bishop’s University is doing, likewise the CEGEPs.

The reason why I mentioned Bishops in particular, is because they are primarily an undergraduate-focused university. This means that while they conduct research here and there, their focus is to teach, thus reducing the need for additional funding to be allocated towards massive research projects undertaken by various faculties. Yet it must be stated that these are simply theories, with little to no evidence base to prove that it is a gross misallocation of resources that is partially to blame for the sudden shortfall in funds. There is little hope in sight for this situation as the PQ government has seemingly retreated inward towards the citadel of politics, so to speak, and is hell-bent on striking forth with a renewed campaign for Quebec independence. All the while they are ignoring what goes on beyond their high walls and ramparts, which ultimately means that the universities will have to either cut back on the amount of projects they take in, or they will have to do what the students fought so hard to prevent: raise tuition. The money has to come from somewhere, and like it or not, it is not coming from the provincial government this time. You can read the article in the link below this paragraph.

http://www.montrealgazette.com/business/University+underfunding+threatens+Montreal+status+forum/7916937/story.html

There you have it folks, another week of select news topics from the games industry, and Montreal. Funny however that the statement is somewhat false, given a lack of games industry news this week: again there is a lack of decent stories to write on. I swear January and February are the worst months for games journalism, and it really hits hard if you rely on this to make a living. Now there are “stories,” however most of them are predictions for tech shows, or release numbers for certain titles that really are not appetizing so to speak. Hopefully next week there will be somewhat more stories to choose from, and in turn I can return to a “normal” pace. Again I realise that this piece came out a bit late: I have been engaged in ten hour days, with my remaining days occupied with various university committees. I have stated this in the past and I will state this again, this blog is a hobby of mine: I receive no monetary reimbursement for my time. Thus while I try to keep to a strict schedule when it comes to publishing, life may not give me the luxury to do so as it has many other duties in store for me. I really do hope that you – my readers – understand this fact, and will bear with me as I try my best to bring you these pieces on Saturdays. Circumstances may arise whereby it will be on Sundays that the piece appears, or sometime very late on a Saturday, Pacific Standard Time. Nevertheless, I really do hope you will continue to support this blog; as I am quite happy writing these pieces and sharing it with you folks. It gives me great pleasure to see people enjoying my works, and it also means that my written English skills are somewhat up to scratch. Anyways thank you all for reading this week’s Telegraphed Gazette: tune in next Saturday for another weekly round-up of news, and comments. My name has been Vince, and I will see you next time.

The Telegraphed Gazette: Column. 3 February 2013

Hello there folks:

This week I thought I might do something a little different with my gazette. Over the past six days or so there has been little worth writing on, so I felt it was appropriate to spark a new section of the gazette titled “column.” Exactly like other newspapers out there, this column shall be a somewhat frequently occurring section of the gazette with in-depth thoughts related to only a couple of stories as well as some personal thoughts on various issues and/or topics. Now I am aware that the gazette itself contains my opinions on various stories; however when it comes to the column, it will be a few select topics in which will not be directly linked to a particular story, but towards a greater picture. Examples include overall thoughts on Bill 101 in Quebec, the defense strategy for Canada, and how consumer-friendly practices can and will benefit game developers in the long run. Now without further delay my readers, in the column for this week: an understanding of Bill 101 and its’ purpose, a broken water main in Montreal’s sewer system and the sad state of affairs, and a quick analysis of Django: unchained.

Now in the past week or so I have come to understand the purpose of Bill 101 in Quebec, and what is was intended to work towards. National unity – in respect to Canadian Federalism – can only be sustained if the populace speaks a set of common languages. The population in Quebec overwhelmingly speaks French: 95% to be exact. The result is the majority will want to have their linguistic demographics preserved, and rightfully so. Like English, French has official language status for a reason: to ensure that those who wish to reside in the area can communicate with the larger population, and in turn enter into the greater society. Quebec is not trying to deter people from coming, much like how Canada is not trying to deter others from coming; rather the province – and the country – have linguistic requirements in place to ensure that the newcomer can at least – the bare minimum – communicate with others in the province. If everyone came here and spoke whatever dialect they wanted to, the society would fragment, and our diversity would in turn not be our strength, but rather our weakness. Ultimately what I am trying to say is I understand why Quebec has Bill 101, and subsequently the OLF. The only true problem I have with the OLF in particular – and this goes with any government agency – is overzealous inspectors. Quebec – like the rest of Canada – cannot assimilate others into the greater society without being at least a little bit selfish.

I suppose now that I am on the topic of Quebec I should shift the attention towards Montreal, and a water-main that broke earlier this week. Long story short, the main busted, in turn flooding downtown Montreal along with McGill university’s downtown campus. Finger-pointing aside, it is clear that the infrastructure is in dire need of repair. Sadly what we are seeing now is a political battle in city hall of which the new mayor, Michael Applebaum, is accused of corruption: specifically ties to the mafia. The end result will be this once again: we will see a stall of projects as the councillors debate long-term solutions to what has been plaguing Montreal’s municipal politics for a few years now, in turn giving little to no attention towards the aging infrastructure. Not surprising, the provincial government is also engaged in its own political battle as Marois tries to play petty politics with Ottawa, all the while attempting to give the Scottish independence movement in the UK some support – to which they declined – when discussing their upcoming independence referendum. Both the municipal government and the provincial government are playing games, and the populace are left out to dry so to speak. This sad state affairs seems to have no end in sight, but at least city hall is engaged in a 10-year, 4.6 billion dollar project aimed at upgrading the city’s aging water structure specifically. What I find interesting is the politicians are like university students in the middle of their semester. They are looking at their course outlines and going: “Eh, we’ll deal with that later.” The end result is that when exam period comes – in the form of the people being upset over the fact that they did little to fix problems in the province such as deficit, broken infrastructure etc – they will probably receive a 50 to 39% grade on their “exams.” Thus they will be forced to either “re-take the course,” or “drop out.” Personally, I would like to see the PQ “drop out” and not attend for at least a few years. Hopefully by then they will truly be the Parti Quebecois in that they are interested in working towards improving the province, not playing silly games and dreaming of independence like some ideologically-motivated child who has a very sheltered view of the world. Grim state of affairs ladies and gentlemen, the link to related stories is in the address below this paragraph.

http://www.montrealgazette.com/news/montreal/Montreal+presents+theory+details+water+main+break+that/7899622/story.html

http://www.montrealgazette.com/news/know+Mafia+mayor/7822417/story.html

This week I had the pleasure of going to see Django Unchained: a story about a slave who is bought by a bounty hunter, released, and then offered a partnership in which the story then spins into a rescue/revenge story. Now Quentin Tarantino did an excellent job of character creation, as well as portrayal of the Southern, slave-owning states in the US during the antebellum years before the civil war. The brutality during those times is shown in the film, in short but very shocking, and graphic scenes to which it delivers a degree of “believable realism” – as I like to term it – which helps in the overall storytelling. Before I go on, any of my readers have children, do not, ever, bring them to see this film if they are under 17 years of age. It is graphic, racial slurs are used – though in context with the timeline it is set in – and there are some scenes which are just utterly disgusting. Now with that out of the way, let us enter into the critique side of things: Jamie Fox does an excellent job with his character Django. The story is – in essence – a revenge story and Fox does a superb job with the facial expressions as well as the dialogue and injecting emotion into the lines in which he recites. Leonardo DiCaprio is quite the “nasty sonofabitch, southern plantation owning gentleman,” and his delivery of his character: Calvin Candie. The accent, as well as the elitist attitude in which most plantation owners are famous for back then, is all present in DiCaprio’s performance and line delivery. There was one part where the concept of incest was hinted towards, and to which DiCaprio was able to make the scene believable. A note to my readers before going on, there is no actual incest in the film, it is only implied.

Now the Austrian-German actor Christoph Waltz does an excellent job with his character Dr. King Schultz, to which I must confess I found his performance to be the most memorable performance of the entire film. Schultz is supposed to be a dentist, but is in reality a bounty hunter, with a few quirky elements in his character: something that – in my opinion – Christoph Waltz executed perfectly. Samuel L. Jackson as usual is at his best, with his character portrayal of Stephen fairly entertaining and memorable at the same time. Overall if you are out with just the misses, friends, cousins, or co-workers (without children I might add) go see this film.

Right, we are finally at the end of this – sort of – pilot edition of the column for the telegraphed gazette. I apologize for the delay in publishing this piece for the blog: my Saturday was spent catching up with a long-lost friend, and the end result was I had completely forgotten about the Saturday publishing date. This past week was interesting to be polite: running nine, ten hour days is taxing, and running about town digging up information and attending various events can leave little to no room for personal writing work. That said however, I will try to keep the schedule as best as I can, but when the spring semester filled with various events ranging from career days to meetings, to class, to work: pieces could wind up being published on Sunday rather than Saturday. Adding to this dilemma is the issue of a lack of news stories for the months of January: as you are all aware January is a very slow month for news from any source, aside from international affairs. Hopefully February will be filled with news in which I can harvest my “specimens” and create my gazettes for all of you to enjoy. Tune in next week on Saturday, February 9th for another addition to the Telegraphed Gazette. This has been Vince, and I will see you next time.