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.
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.
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.
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.
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.