Women on top: Carleton University students excited about Adele’s ’30’

Women on top: Carleton University students excited about Adele’s ’30’

Adele’s 30 hit the shelves at Vertigo Records on Bank Street in Ottawa on Nov. 19. Photo by Aly Mccabe.

Giuseppe Ivan Sestini stayed up until 12 a.m. to see the release of Adele’s 30–the British pop star’s first album in six years. 

“I feel like it’s the masterpiece, like that’s the word,” said Sestini. He said he listened to the whole album shortly after midnight.

At Carleton University, some students are rediscovering Adele’s music and celebrating her use of lyricism to describe her personal experiences. Her newest album is all about divorce, family and self-discovery.The album opens up conversations about women and the criticism they experience in the music industry as well as explores topics of divorce, family and self-discovery.

Earlier this year, Adele reappeared on the music scene with her hit single “Easy on Me,” which    blew up on social media platforms such as TikTok, getting listeners excited for the reemergence of the singer’s powerhouse vocals. 

Other Adele fans at Carleton University shared Sestini’s excitement over the release of the 33-year-old’s newest work. 

Emma Pettigrew, a dance teacher and a student at Carleton University described the music as “really powerful,” while another student, Miranda Jordens, said Adele’s lyrics showed  “strength and independence.” 

Beyond her personal journey, the British singer’s fourth studio album is a powerful expression of grief, heartache and joy. 

“She’s expressing pain and joy in such an artistic way that I’ve never seen in any artist,” said Sestini. 

Beyond her music, Adele’s new album adds commentary on the flawed representation of women in pop music. 

“I feel like they can’t really talk about relationships without being called psycho or crazy,” Jordens said, describing the misinterpretation of female pop artists who are vocal about their opinions. 

The release of 30 and of Taylor Swift’s Red (Taylor’s Version) on Nov. 12have ignited a conversation about misogyny in the music business. 

Swift is best known for her ballads on heartbreak and singing about the nitty gritty details of her breakups and all the emotions that come with it. This has led Swift to fall under harsh criticism for addressing her exes through her artistry.  

“These albums are the way that they are telling their truth,” Sestini said. “Unfortunately, not many women are allowed to do [this] in a system that basically tells them that their opinion is not valid.”

Young people question future of Ottawa’s LRT amid continuous disruptions

Young people question future of Ottawa’s LRT amid continuous disruptions

Anne Akin, 20, is a student at UOttawa who looks forward to the public inquiry into the LRT disruptions. Photo by Rukhsar Ali.

by Rukhsar Ali and Amitava Kar | Nov. 19, 2021 | News |

Young transit riders said Friday they are not convinced a public inquiry into Ottawa’s recently reopened light-rail transit system will fix its issues for good.  

The goal of the inquiry is to get to the bottom of the continuous service disruptions facing the LRT’s Confederation line, Caroline Mulroney, Ontario’s Minister of Transportation, said in a press release Wednesday.

LRT service resumed on Nov. 12 after it was down for 54 days due to a derailment which inconvenienced thousands of Ottawa residents. But within the first week of reopening, two of the city’s trains came to a forced stop — each for almost an hour — causing more delays for returning commuters, including students commuting to and from school. 

“I’m glad they’re looking into it, and I hope it’s not like a fluff thing and they actually look into what the problems are,” said Anne Akin, a University of Ottawa biology student who commutes to campus from Stittsville, a community approximately 30 kilometres west of downtown Ottawa.

“I don’t really know the difference between a public and a judicial inquiry, but I know that a good number of people, including Mayor Jim Watson, voted against the judicial inquiry, so I kind of wanted it to happen.”

Confusion on what a public inquiry entails was a common theme among students who spoke to The Raging Twenties about the upcoming probe.

Public inquiries are seen as more transparent than judicial inquires because of the publicity they enjoy and the number of witnesses that are called, according to a judicial report.

Some members of Ottawa’s city council, who have been pushing in recent weeks for greater transparency into the issues related to LRT service and maintenance, praised the news.

“The inquiry will answer some important questions, such as why the LRT keeps breaking down despite so much money and expertise being invested in it,” Kitchissippi Coun. Jeff Leiper said.

The city has other ways of looking into the LRT problem, such as a judicial inquiry or an internal audit by the auditor general. But Leiper favors a public inquiry into the issue as the best possible option.

“The city has approved an inquiry by the auditor general, but frankly speaking, the auditor general does not have the power or resources to see this through,” Leiper said.

He added young people should be more engaged in city hall and raise their voices to hold the city government accountable. “The kind of affordable and environmentally-sustainable cities young people want to live in largely depend on an efficient mass transit system,” Leiper said.

Emily Gough, 22, a psychology student at the University of Ottawa, said she isn’t happy with the LRT’s performance.

“When I first came to Ottawa in 2017, I was really excited about having a more robust transit system here,” said Gough, who moved from Halifax to attend school. “But over the years, I’ve just been extremely disappointed with how OC Transpo has regulated itself.”

She said there’s been a lot of “inaction by the municipal government” when it comes to the LRT and wants a more reliable commuting experience.

Gough said offering free transit for OC Transpo commuters for the month of December isn’t enough compensation for students who already pay for semester-long bus passes.

“As a student, I’m already paying $400 to have a transit pass, so I wasn’t really appreciative of what they did,” Gough said. “It’s not free for me. I’m still paying for it and I’m not getting reimbursed.”

Economic recovery, reconciliation leading issues for young Ottawans as Parliament resumes

Economic recovery, reconciliation leading issues for young Ottawans as Parliament resumes

Alexander Zeppilli stands outside Leeds House at Carleton University in Ottawa. Photo by Andrew Stetson.

For Alexander Zeppilli, the primary issue facing the new Liberal government ahead of Monday’s opening of Parliament is the nation’s economy.

“They need to get the economy going again, they need to get people back to work,” said Zeppilli, 23, a graduate student at Carleton University.

Economic issues and the need for Indigenous reconciliation were among main issues stressed by young Ottawans who spoke to The Raging Twenties on Friday.

For Zeppilli, the need for increased focus on the Canadian economy comes down to the ongoing challenges presented by COVID-19 for working people and business owners.

“I’ve seen how it can affect the middle-class,” he said.

A controversial election culminated in a near-identical Liberal minority for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Sept. 20.

The Liberal government has pledged to create a more resilient Canadian economy by introducing affordable childcare and support for businesses to increase hiring through a campaign promise of $78 billion in new spending over the next five years.

The economy is also the issue Benjamin Purcell wants to see become a target of the government over the next four years.

“The economy and getting things back to normal needs to be the real focus,” said Purcell, 23, a graduate student in international security at Carleton University.

Max Lampert, 13, was on Parliament Hill with his family on Friday.

photo of Parliament Hill
Centre Block of Parliament Hill in Ottawa. Young Canadians have many issues that they want to see addressed by Justin Trudeau and the Liberal party ahead of the opening of Parliament on Monday. Photo by Andrew Stetson.

Lampert said the Liberal party needs to address inequalities facing Indigenous communities first and foremost.  

Although the prime minister has pledged to eliminate all long-term drinking water advisories and address systemic racism against Indigenous peoples in Canada, Lampert said he doesn’t have much confidence in Trudeau’s promises. The Liberal government has promised $2 billion investment in housing for First Nations communities and a $325 million annual allocation toward a distinctions-based mental health and wellness strategy.

“He has tried to please, but it falls short,” Lampert said.

Skepticism toward Trudeau’s weighty commitments was shared by Purcell back at Carleton University. 

“He promises the world, and nothing happens,” he said.  “It shows how much he is willing to say he’ll do, and they’re just empty promises.”

As far as Zeppilli is concerned, the Liberal party needs to act to prove that an early election was necessary and worthwhile. 

“Saying you are going to do something is a start, but you need to follow it up,” Zeppilli said.  “They need to lead by example.”

To learn more about the issues that youth are demanding from Parliament, check out William Eltherington’s article, With Parliament returning, young members of a defeated Green Party grapple with its racism and transphobia problem

Yearning for nostalgia, authenticity at a midnight Pokémon launch

Yearning for nostalgia, authenticity at a midnight Pokémon launch

Ben Mungham is ready for the Pokémon launch at GameStop in Ottawa on Thursday night, sporting Pokéballs and a Lucario on his shoulder. Picture by Jaimie Nackan.

The air buzzed with excitement Thursday evening as the sound of Pokémon music greeted people at the door of GameStop inside the Billings Bridge Shopping Centre for the midnight launch of the video games Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Pokémon Shining Pearl.

The original versions of these games were released 15 years ago back in 2006 for the handheld Nintendo DS console. This year also marks the 25 anniversary of the Pokémon franchise.  

One attendee, Alexis Fee, sat just outside the store shuffling through a stack of Pokémon cards, each carefully wrapped in their own protective sleeve. Fee said that not only was Diamond their introduction to Pokémon, but it was also their first-ever video game, and they were looking forward to reliving it.

“I come to the store every one to two days. I come here often enough and thought it would be fun to come and get excited about the game,” Fee said. As they never got to attend the first launch, Fee thought it would be fitting to come and celebrate the game that got them into Pokémon in the first place.

Diamond and Pearl were the first Pokémon games released for the Nintendo DS. The games utilized new features for the time, like Wi-Fi connection which allowed for online multiplayer gaming. This provided players with an easier and more accessible way to trade Pokémon with friends or battle with other players across the world.

The community aspect inherent to the games was seen again on launch night, Thursday, as people sat outside casually trading Pokémon cards with each other while waiting for midnight to strike.

Eager players circled the store, wearing their favourite Pokémon attire. Some highlights included a Pikachu inspired Christmas sweater, a Jigglypuff hat, and a Lugia plushie attached to one individual’s hood.

Amanda Tessier, the GameStop store manager, said it is usually older people who show more excitement for game releases like these.

“People are picking up Diamond and Pearl because they’re nostalgic. They’re like, ‘I played that game when I was five, when I was six, and I can’t wait to play it again with better graphics,’” Tessier said.

According to Michael Iantorno, a PhD candidate in communication studies at Concordia University, the emphasis on nostalgia is something that comes up a lot in Nintendo remakes.

Iantorno explores what happens to games after their original commercial lifespan in his research.

He drew on the similarities between the newer Pokémon games released on Thursday and the recent remaster of The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening. “It had a very similar rhetoric around where it’s like an old game brought to new hardware, which is still authentic to the old, but it’s still gifted with new features and new graphics and things that set it apart from the old version,” Iantorno said.

Both games have a new “chibi” style of artwork, a style characterized by overexaggerated, short and cute figures, which Iantorno said may help to mimic the older sprite style artwork. These upgrades bring a fresh feel to the graphics without making it unrecognizable, which helps to retain the sentimental feel of the old 2D pixel art style.

Some fans place a high level of importance on preserving the look and feel of old games as new ones are released. After the 2019 release of Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield, fans were disappointed that old Pokémon were left out of these games, so they found ways to hack them in.

“That was really intriguing to me, because there was a sort of idea of what a Pokémon game should be. And since it didn’t abide by that idea, a lot of fans took it into their own hands,” Iantorno said.

According to Iantorno, while the remakes are not a one-to-one conversion, they act as something emblematic of the entire Pokémon series. “It takes the old experience of the original title, and then makes it match the experience of the newer Pokémon games and finds this authenticity, as a sort of pastiche.”

As Thursday night wore on, the line in front of the GameStop continued to grow. One of the first people there was a man with a Pokémon tattoo sleeve who brought along his young child who was carrying a Nintendo Switch Lite.

To kill time before the launch, the boy went into the store to play some Pokémon games. After catching a Bidoof inside the store, he named it GameStop and proudly showed it to Tessier. 

Demands to defund police should “go to Queen’s Park,” says Ottawa city councillor

Demands to defund police should “go to Queen’s Park,” says Ottawa city councillor

Community members held a rally on Oct. 7 to mark the one-year anniversary of Anthony Aust’s death during a 2020 police raid. Residents attending the rally gathered outside of Ottawa police headquarters and laid out flowers, candles and banners. (Submitted by Vanessa Dorimain).

Community groups advocating to defund Ottawa’s police force are at odds with city council over which level of government is responsible for greenlighting police budget cuts, ahead of a key vote on the city’s $346.5 million police budget.

The Ottawa Police Services Board will vote Monday to determine whether the proposed 2022 police budget, which is requesting an increase of $14 million from last year, will be recommended for city council approval next month.

But according to Rideau-Rockcliffe Coun. Rawlson King, who is one of three city councillors appointed to the board, defunding a municipal police force is not as straightforward as some residents may believe.

For Ottawa residents calling for a freeze to the force’s funding, the vote will indicate how prepared the board’s seven members are to meet their demands and reallocate police funding to community supports and services.

“People have to remember municipalities are the creatures of statutes and legislation,” King said. “Any power a police board has is determined by the province. It’s not realistic for us to go to the public and say, ‘we’ll defund.’”

He points to language in Ontario’s Police Services Act that requires municipalities to ensure local law enforcement is adequately resourced. According to King, demands for defunding should “go to Queen’s Park” because the act significantly limits the board’s ability to freeze the budget in response to community demands.

If the provincial act says cities must provide adequate policing services, “we can’t just arbitrarily cut dollars from the police budget,” King said, adding demands to defund the force or freeze its budget should be made to the province.

Some community members say councillors are using the Police Services Act as an excuse to shift responsibility toward the province.

Samantha McAleese, a member of Coalition Against More Surveillance, said police board members are still responsible to the community they represent, regardless of constraints presented by provincial legislation.

“They use the Police Services Act as a reason not to freeze or decrease the budget,” she said. “But my question for the board is, what are they doing to push back [against] the Police Services Act to do what their community is asking them to do?”

Mandi Pekan, project director at the Street Resilience Project, said she believes the board needs to understand that community demands go beyond simply defunding the force’s budget.

“There seems to be urgency from the OPSB [Ottawa Police Services Board] of where this money should go, but I think they’re missing the point,” Pekan said. “The last delegations in general have been pushing back on OPS [Ottawa Police Services] in terms of the harms of policing rather than where the money needs to be allocated.”

Pekan emphasized any reallocation of funds, if done, needs to be done properly.

“A budget freeze isn’t about going to specific organizations on the city hierarchy list to replicate the same thing, but to reinvest [into the] areas of community infrastructure that continue to be underfunded,” Pekan said.

Should the board vote to adopt the 2022 police budget, it will go before city council on Dec. 8 for final approval.

This article has been updated to reflect the correct name of Coalition Against More Surveillance. Incorrect information previously appeared in this post.

Is polyamory the new marriage?

Is polyamory the new marriage?

Photo Illustration of Paige McKenny by Constantina Varlokostas and Natalia Weichsel

Twenty-somethings are ditching traditional relationship customs in place of polyamory, according to 28-year-old Paige McKenny, but no one is talking about it.

McKenny took up non-monogamy in their mid-20s after grappling with a series of relationships they would describe as non-functional and emotionally abusive.

But the idea of an open approach to love didn’t begin to brew until a conversation with a partner in 2015 that helped McKenny understand what non-monogamy really meant.

“When we started seeing each other, we both knew we wanted certain things in life that were going to lead us on divergent paths. And so when we began our relationship, we had a really frank discussion about what we wanted, and what we needed,” McKenny said.

The couple ultimately decided to have an open relationship with no expectations for the future.

“We were really interested in spending time together and cultivating a relationship, knowing that there was an end point to it.”

For twenty-somethings like McKenny, ditching traditional relationship customs such as marriage in place of polyamory has a growing appeal. From self-help books on becoming an ethical slut to the BBC series Trigonometry to 2019’s very public break-up of Hollywood triad Tana Mongeau, Bella Thorne and rapper Mod Sun, polyamory is having a moment. Even if the idea of having multiple concurrent partners may be taboo among some older generations, one in five Canadians have been involved in a consensual non-monogamous relationship, according to one study.

Experts and everyday explorers of non-monogamy all agree honesty, open communication and trust offer the best chance of success.

the polyamory flag
Found at a local Ottawa shop, Venus Envy, the polyamorous flag symbolizes openness and honesty through its blue stripes, love and passion with the colour red, and solidarity through black. It also features the Greek letter π (pi), as it’s an irrational number with infinite decimal places.

Polyamory, polygamy are different ends of the spectrum

What is polyamory? Some may confuse the term with polygamy, however, according to Noémie Kyryluk, they are two very different ends of the spectrum. Kyryluk, a registered psychotherapist and certified sex therapist, likes to describe polyamory as having different people to fill different needs whereas polygamy involves one man with multiple wives.

“A way that I like to think about it is as friendships, you have multiple friendships. Rarely does one person have one friend that you expect to do everything with you,” Kyryluk said. “Different people meet different needs, and you expect that, it’s just the norm. Polyamory is kind of the same concept.”

She explained that overall, polyamory is an umbrella term to describe when a person can’t have all of their needs met by a single partner so they have multiple partners where each person brings in a different dynamic, whether romantically, sexually or platonically.

According to the educational, sex positive website Sex and Psychology, Justin Lehmiller reported that approximately one in five Canadians have been involved in a consensual non-monogamous relationship. In his study, Lehmiller concluded younger adults were more experienced than older adults with open relationships and suggested there may be generational differences in openness to non-monogamy.

Kyryluk offered a similar perspective.

“I think the younger generations are just a little bit more open. They’re more open to the possibilities of all these different relationship styles, different types of sexuality, to talking about mental health and therapy,” she said. “Whereas with older generations, I find that there’s a lot of shame. They’re not sure if what they’ve done is okay, or whether it’s still taboo.”

Open relationships need open communication

For some young adults like Cynthia Pham, what brought her to polyamory was the emotional tyranny she experienced in her previous monogamous relationships.

Pham, a 23-year-old student at McMaster University, said the emotional barriers between herself and her partners led to unhealthy monogamous relationships in the past. With her latest partner, the possibility of pursuing an open relationship came up when they realized they would soon be a long-distance couple. It ended up creating the healthiest connection for them both, she said.

“I think another important thing in open relationships is that if anything changes in the relationship, because things are fluid, you always have to be open to communicating it with your partner,” Pham said.

Being in an open relationship with a man that had a deeper understanding of himself forced her to feel comfortable communicating her emotions.

Raphaella Valeri, a young professional, also believes communication is a big part of the process when exploring non-monogamy, especially when navigating it with her current partner.

“What helped us both become comfortable with this was just the fact that our relationship is so strong and healthy and that we are already really good at communicating,” she said.

Valeri described her five-year long relationship with her boyfriend as strong, trusting and something she sees going long term. Her interest in polyamory sparked a couple years back by speaking with her therapist and friends involved in open relationships. She researched the topic with her boyfriend by reading Dossie Easton and Janet Hardy’s book The Ethical Slut and by discussing relevant passages together.

By the end of this process, Valeri says she felt as if they built a strong enough foundation to handle an open relationship. She said this move was necessary for herself to grow and step outside of her comfort zone as her current partner was her only experience in dating.

Positive feelings of freedom are common among individuals who practice ethical non-monogamy. For Valeri, the term polyamory means independence, maturity and the ability to get to know other people and develop new relationships.

Similarly, McKenny described it as “the ability to be an individual.”

photo of mckenny
McKenny, 28, has been working at Venus Envy, an education-oriented sex shop located in Ottawa for two months, offering customers an inclusive and safe environment.

“I think it’s a great tool for introspection and being really self-aware and self-sufficient,” McKenny said. “Which is funny because you think with more people in the mix, you have less self-sufficiency or you have more people to fill your needs, which is true, but this means you need to know what those needs are, which requires a lot of introspection.”

According to Kyryluk, it’s important to note the differences between non-monogamy and infidelity. “Some people will say non-monogamy is synonymous to infidelity, which it is not, because the most damaging part in infidelity is really the betrayal and broken trust – all of the emotional stuff that surrounds it,” she explained.

“Ethical non-monogamy really focuses on that transparency, like, ‘Yeah, okay, we might be sleeping with other people, but we know it and we have boundaries and limits.’”

‘Love is important, but it’s tough’

When it comes to relationship styles, non-monogamy isn’t the only conversation buzzing among young people – marriage nears the top of the list.

This generation has seen it all throughout their childhood – from dysfunctional families to infidelity. As divorce rates increase, some young people don’t see marriage as an end goal.

Although Seager Wakil, a 23-year-old student, cannot see himself practising non-monogamy, he is also unconvinced that being legally bound to a partner is necessary due to being a child of divorce.

“I shake my head at people who rush into marriage early. I think there are so many real things that need to be addressed and you need to be so practical,” Wakil said. “Love is important, but it’s tough. Love can’t save financial issues or different communication styles.”

The desire for a life partner is attractive to the younger generation but without the paperwork.

“I have strong yearnings for a nesting partnership or an anchor partnership, something that feels like we’re walking a life path together,” McKenny said. “I think at the moment, [my partner] and I have expressed a mutual interest and that sort of trajectory to our relationship. I don’t think that there’s any reason for our relationship to have strong domestic poles towards each other,” they said.

books at a local ottawa sex shop
A positive place to learn about non-monogamy is through books and educational sources such as those pictured here, found at Venus Envy in the Centertown neighbourhood of Ottawa.

Kyryluk’s advice for people interested in exploring non-monogamy is to invest in educational resources such as therapy, books and workshops.

“The best advice I can give people is to really take a proactive approach, and to talk about all of your expectations. If you don’t talk about your expectations, your wants, your needs, your limits, your boundaries, it probably won’t be super successful.”

Resources to learn more about non-monogamy and sex education:

Polysecure: Attachment, Trauma and Consensual Nonmonogamy By: Jessica Fern

More Than Two: A Practical Guide to Ethical Polyamory By: Franklin Veaux and Eve Rickert

Opening Up: A Guide to Creating and Sustaining Open Relationships By: Tristan Taormino

Venus Envy – Shop

Good For Her – Shop

Luna Matatas – Educator