Review: ‘The Witcher’, season one

In the adaptation of Andrzej Sapkowski’s fantasy series, Henry Cavill trades in his red cape for a white wig, broadsword and the gift of hunting monsters – but does that make for a good series?

Trailer for Netflix’s The Witcher

8.5/10

One of the first things we need to cover is that no, the show is not a 1:1 adaptation of the video game series. The Witcher 3 which saw a release on the Sony Playstation 4 and Nintendo Switch, is part of Sapkowski’s book series that has existed long before the games. Another disclaimer I’m going to put forward is that I have not yet read the books, but, this show has certainly turned me towards wanting to read them.

What this show does well is make you think for yourself. It does not hold your hand through the narrative. Characters come and go and you are tasked to remember who is who and their importance in the story. It may take some one episode and others will need the entire season (consisting of eight hour-long episodes).

The story takes an interesting turn in its narrative by not telling it linearly. I can’t say much more without spoiling the surprise as the timeline for the show comes together around episode 4 titled ‘Of Banquets, Bastards and Burials’, but when everything begins to click, it takes an interesting turn because what seems like separate storylines turns into a game of cat-and-mouse of sorts.

Sapkowski gave his blessing for showrunner Lauren Schmidt Hissrich to take the characters of Geralt of Rivia, Ciri, Yennefer and others to the small screen, and Netflix didn’t spare the expense to help.

The battles and magic are not skimped on in terms of money which is surprising for fantasy shows in their first season. HBO even held back on financing large-scale battles for their now-hit show Game of Thrones until late into its second season.

The sword choreography is also on a different level. It’s brutal, fast and pulls no punches in going for the most gruesome kills it can. Every swing of Geralt’s broadsword is felt and every battle is filmed with enough breathing room to see what’s going on without being too far from the core of the action.

Henry Cavill was a bit of head-scratcher to play to Geralt initially, but after the first episode, he falls into place very quickly. Anya Chalotra, for me, was the breakout star of the first season as Yennefer of Vengerberg. Her story starts out very hard and emotional, but by the end of the first season, she is a force to be reckoned with.

Freya Allen plays Ciri, or Princess Cirilla of Cintra. She doesn’t get as much powerful material to work with as Cavill or Chalotra, but she’s far from underused and boring. Part of the charm of knowing she’s Ciri is it’s only a matter of time before her and Geralt come into contact with one another.

Sonya Belousova and Giona Ostinelli score the show and their accompaniments fit the gothic fantasy world of The Witcher, however it lacks any memorable themes or motifs that help bring the world and characters to life.

All in all, for a first season, the show came out swinging and kept me thoroughly engaged from start to finish. Where other studios may have played it a lot more safe and downplayed the magic, Netflix has delivered right out of the gate with spells, dragons, monsters and battles.

The Witcher has been renewed for second season which is expected for 2021.

Raptors record comeback of the decade against Mavs

The Toronto Raptors erased a 30-point deficit on Sunday to beat Dallas Mavericks 110-107.

The Raptors are the first NBA team this decade to come back from 30 points down to win a game. This also set the franchise record for largest comeback in team history.

Here is a list of the largest comebacks in Raptors history:

Kyle Lowry led Raptors scorers with 32 points, he also added 10 assists. That was his first 30+ point game since November 2, when he scored 36 points in a loss to the Milwaukee Bucks.

Chris Boucher scored an NBA career-high 21 points, he added seven rebounds. Rondae-Hollis Jefferson had 18 points and nine boards.

Former Villanova player Jalen Brunson led Dallas scorers with 21 points and also had nine assists. Kristaps Porzingis recorded a double-double with 19 points and 12 rebounds.

Canadian Dwight Powell had 17 points and nine boards. Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 16 points and Dorian Finney-Smith had 14. Former Raptor Delon Wright scored five points.

Here are some Raptors highlights of the night:

Lowry scored 20 of his 32 points in the 4th quarter. He was named the Eastern Conference player of the week on Monday.

The Raptors take on the Indiana Pacers on Monday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.


Featured image from Frank Gunn/Canadian Press.

The rise brings an end to Skywalker

OPINION

The ninth film of a ninology and the third in a trilogy has the massive task of concluding the space opera epic of Star Wars — a task harder than any that has come before in the world of film.

Spoilers ahead. I also recommend watching the movie before reading this.

Unlike Avengers: Endgame or Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — other franchise-ending mega blockbusters — there is no comic book or novel to follow or be inspired by. When Disney rightfully destroyed the pre-2014 chaotic, but much-beloved canon, they set out alone in the galaxy to, for the first time in forty years, create new Star Wars films that could go any direction and take on any form.

Disney wanted it fast. Kathleen Kennedy, Lucasfilm president, as well as many others, admitted as such. George Lucas handed the Star Wars IP to Disney and it was go time. So here we are four years later with another trilogy and the end of the Skywalker Saga. Did we get what we wanted?

The best part about the ending is that it exists. Now, Lucasfilm is free to move on without being held to the bedrock of a franchise and explore new stories, places, beings — untethered to the expectations of legions of fans worldwide. It’s an exciting time, the future has arrived.

If you’re reading this, it’s likely that you’ve read other reviews already as well as seen the film and made your own decision. This was originally intended to be a spoiler review of Episode IX — and while below you’ll find a summary with some commentary — it’s mostly a look to the future and what will come next, because that is the best part of this film. 

Sure, the redemption and sacrifice of Kylo Ren — who turned out to be the most interesting character of this trilogy — and the eventual defeat of Emperor, were quite predictable. But it was the relationship of Rey to the Emperor and the truly fun adventure of Poe, Rey and Finn that were pleasant surprises.

Some critics are taking issue with Rey being related to the Emperor as it takes away from her independence as a woman and her identity as a “nobody” that could still have impact in a galaxy where everyone powerful is related to someone.

I dispute this for two reasons.

One is that, yes, this is the Skywalker Saga and these movies are about the Skywalkers and the influence of Palpatine. It’s not like you need to be related to someone to be powerful. Yoda is arguably the most powerful and wisest being and is not related to the two families. Ashoka is a woman, independent and strong as well as unrelated to the families.

Secondly, Rey, after growing in herself in the last two movies and casting aside doubt to fight the First Order without hesitation because she knew what was right, found out she was from the worst possible thing — a dark Sith who had committed atrocities across the galaxy — and yet still held strong to defeat him, giving her own life in the process.

It was Ben Solo, played by Adam Driver, that was the most interesting in the end. Despite a movie that aimed to fix the middle of the trilogy — which only happened because of poor advanced planning and not because of the risks Rian Johnson took — Kylo was one of the few characters that felt like a complete, coherent story arc from start to end.

And he was interesting. His turn from the dark side back to the light was sparked by a sacrifice of Leia — a powerful, respectful end to her character if there ever was one — and a memory of Han Solo.

All-in-all, The Rise of Skywalker was a strong, vibrant conclusion that, for me, remained true to the Star Wars I loved — fun, adventurous, new and epic — and presented a satisfying conclusion to a story 42 years in the making.

You can read our entertainment editor’s review for a more robust critic of the film, along with our official rating of 7/10, but it was here that I wanted to make the point that the final film was good, but it is the excitement of a new frontier in this galaxy far, far away that I already have begun to anticipate.

Injury-plagued Raptors hold on to beat Wizards

The Toronto Raptors defeated the Washington Wizards 122-118 on Friday.

The Raptors published an article to their team website on Thursday which gave details on the multiple injuries that players sustained during the game on Wednesday in Detroit.

Screen Shot 2019-12-21 at 6.03.36 PM.png

Fred VanVleet returned to the lineup after missing five games with a knee contusion. Toronto’s starting five consisted of Lowry, VanVleet, Anunoby, McCaw, Anunoby and Ibaka.

Lowry led the way with 26 points and nine assists. He played the most minutes with 41.

Serge Ibaka recorded a double-double with 23 points and 10 rebounds. He blocked three shots as well. VanVleet almost had his first career triple-double. He put up 18 points, nine boards and eight assists.

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson provided 14 points off the bench.

Bradley Beal carried the load for Washington as he had 37 points, seven rebounds and six assists.

Ish Smith had a perfect night from the field and the free-throw line, as he went 9-9 and 4-4 respectively to get himself 26 points. He also made four three-pointers.

Former Boston Celtic Isaiah Thomas scored 13 and Troy Brown Jr. had 11.

Here are some highlights from the Raptors:

The Wizards scored 66 second half points to put pressure on the home team, but this three from Lowry helped close the game.

The Raptors play the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday at Scotiabank Arena.

Tip-off is set for 3:30 p.m.


Featured image from Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images.

Review: ‘Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker’

In the conclusion to a 40-year journey, director J.J. Abrams returns to helm the film as well as write alongside Chris Terrio as we bring the stories of Luke and Leia Skywalker, Rey, Finn, Poe Dameron and Chewbacca to a close.

The final trailer for the rise of skywalker.

7/10

Since 2015’s The Force Awakens – the Star Wars films have been very divisive. From utter praise and admiration for Gareth Edwards’ Rogue One to sheer disappointment and disgust with Rian Johnson’s The Last Jedi.

J.J. Abrams had a difficult task with creating not only a conclusion to the sequel trilogy (The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi) but to tie in the other six films as well – and that’s where this film starts to fall apart in some regard. While the obvious connections are made to the original trilogy, the prequel trilogy (The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith) are largely ignored outside some minor (and I mean incredibly minor) cameos.

What doesn’t help the film either is its pacing, which alternates from fast-paced, nonstop action to immediately hitting the brakes for a shot at an emotional moment which then slows down a bit too much. The first half hour of the film, quite literally, jumps from world to world and makes it feel as if there’s at least another chunk of story left on the cutting room floor that gave it some breathing room.

The writing also lends itself to some incredibly repetitive and cliched beats that end up removing any sense of emotional weight or impact in moments where there should be just that. It’s not as similarly plotted out as Return of the Jedi (as many like to point out that The Force Awakens is a beat-by-beat retread of A New Hope) but the self-contained writing for the story can’t seem to make a decision on what it wants to do with certain characters.

With all of that said, it makes it seem like a horrendous movie, which it is not. The Rise of Skywalker ends up being highly entertaining with some very hard-hitting emotional moments which will be explored in our in-depth spoiler review.

When the action is happening, it is crisp, clear and very entertaining to watch. The sabre choreography has been stepped up in a major way and Abrams has brought back the colourful visual palette he had in The Force Awakens.

With this film being his last time scoring a Star Wars film, composer John Williams gives it his all and provides plenty of throwback themes to films gone by, however not all of his iconic motifs are utilized to their fullest extent and it’s mildly disappointing.

The cast get much more time to shine and showcase their ability to act in a massive franchise such as this one. Daisy Ridley gives her best performance yet as Rey as she struggles to battle the conflict within her and remain true to the teachings of the late Jedi, Luke Skywalker. Oscar Isaac provides the second best performance of the film as Poe Dameron, who for me, has always been a highlight of this trilogy.

John Boyega’s Finn takes a backseat (as does Kelly Marie Tran’s Rose Tico) and it feels like a knee-jerk reaction to the reception of The Last Jedi. Finn is present in battle and on the journey, but nothing about his arc is overly memorable because wherever he goes, he’s either with Poe or Rey.

At the end of the day – this is Star Wars, and even the worst movie in the franchise, which is agreed to be Attack of the Clones, has entertaining moments. The Rise of Skywalker feels more like a direct sequel to The Force Awakens than The Last Jedi, which isn’t really how trilogies work, but this is far from a bad movie.

Trump impeached by U.S. House

The U.S. House of Representatives late on Wednesday impeached Republican President Donald Trump with a vote largely along party lines, passing at two articles of impeachment put forward by the majority Democrats claiming abuse of power and obstruction of justice, handing the fate of the president over to a trial in the GOP-held Senate.

The ballots marked by lawmakers in the House came after a day of debate that saw Democrats calling Trump a threat to democracy as Republicans fought back, claiming the proceedings were a partisan coup with Rep. Kevin McCarthy calling it the “least credible impeachment in American history.”

Democrats in the House, led by Nancy Pelosi, accuse the 73-year-old president of abusing his power by asking Ukraine to investigate former Vice President and current presidential hopeful Joe Biden in return for military aid. Trump is also charged with obstructing congressional probes by directing officials and departments to ignore legal summons.

Impeachment is an extraordinary check on presidential power written into the United States Constitution by the founders that allows for the removal of presidents by Congress over the vague “high crimes and misdemeanours” — and Trump is the third president to be impeached after Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton.

As the House made history, Trump, who denies any wrongdoing, rallied supporters from Battle Creek, Michigan. 

Article One was supported by 230 Democrats while two Democrats voted against the article, which accuses Trump of abuse of power over his dealings with Ukraine. Democrats lost one ballot when voting in favour of Article Two, which alleges abuse of power.

Sole Independent Justin Amash, who left the Republican Party earlier this year, voted with Democrats on both articles. None of the 195 Republicans in the House supported the articles, as expected by political analysts, while Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard voted only “present”.

Powell finds groove in Raptors victory over Cavs

The Toronto Raptors ended their three-game home winless streak as they defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers 133-113 on Monday.

Pascal Siakam led Raptors scorers with 33 points on 13-24 shooting from the field. He also had four assists and four rebounds. Norman Powell scored 26 points, including four three-pointers and added four steals to his stat-sheet.

Kyle Lowry recorded a double-double with 20 points and 11 assists. He is now tied for with Antonio Davis who recorded 110 double-doubles as a Raptor.

OG Anunoby had 12 points and nine boards, while Serge Ibaka had 14 points off the bench.

Toronto shot 50 per cent from beyond the arc, and 58.4 per cent overall.

Sophomore Collin Sexton led the Cavaliers scorers with 25 points. Rookie Darius Garland scored 20.

Brampton native Tristan Thompson had 18 points and eight rebounds. Cedi Osman scored 12. Kevin Love, Jordan Clarkson and Kevin Porter Jr. scored nine points each.

Patrick McCaw has seen extended minutes since his return from injury, and he has helped his teammates create stops and make plays.

Here are a couple more highlights from the Raptors:

Toronto will travel to Detroit to play the Pistons on Wednesday at Little Caesars Arena.

Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.


Featured image from Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images.

As semester ends, Board minutes remain unpublished

With the fall semester of the current academic year coming to a close, IGNITE has not yet posted meeting minutes from the November Board of Director meeting, which would have likely been approved at the Dec. 11 gathering of directors at Lakeshore Campus.

All of the meeting minutes were removed at some point between Aug. 14 and Sept. 11 along with the exact times and locations of the Board meetings, breaking IGNITE’s bylaws that state the minutes must be available online and the meeting details posted ahead of time.

Meeting minutes, as was pointed out by Director Erika Caldwell in September, should be posted online after approval at the next meeting. At the time, IGNITE incorrectly claimed that the meeting minutes would only be available through the executive director.

The student union started to post the meeting minutes at the end of October, starting with the May minutes which would have been approved in September.

U.K.-based Cineworld acquires Cineplex Cinemas

Cineworld, a U.K.-based theatre company, has just finalized a deal to buy out Cineplex Cinemas.

In a deal worth $2.8 billion, Cineworld will buy out Cineplex, the Toronto-based theatre chain that has dominated the Canadian market for a movie going experience.

The acquisition of Cineplex comes almost two years after Cineworld acquired the U.S.-based theatre chain, Regal Cinemas.

Cineworld offered to buy out Cineplex at $34 per share and saw a rise of about 1.4% in their own stocks by the end of the business day yesterday.

The company will add 165 cinemas which adds 1,695 screens across their current 786 sites and 9,498 screens.

While rebranding the Canadian theatres, Cineworld will continue to refurbish the Regal theatres in the U.S.

The Skywalker saga: End of an era

Star Wars, Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker arrives in theatres this Friday, and with it, ushers in the end of a 40 year journey.

“We’ve passed on all we know. A thousand generations live in you now…” is what we hear Jedi master Luke Skywalker say in the trailers for The Rise of Skywalker, the ninth and final chapter in the sprawling Star Wars saga that began in 1977 with A New Hope and focused on the powerful Skywalker family.

As the franchise looks to close the door on one of the most beloved families in pop culture, we can also look ahead to what the galactic series has to offer.

What started in 1977 as a space opera that nobody had heard of, and the stars of the film were unsure of, soon became an unstoppable force. Star Wars debuted and introduced the world to the likes of Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Han Solo and Darth Vader. In the decades following, characters like Chewbacca, R2-D2, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Ahsoka Tano, Cassian Andor and countless others are beloved in one of the largest and most passionate fanbases.

Dec. 20 will see the final piece of the puzzle release: The Rise of Skywalker. Episode IX concludes not only the sequel trilogy (comprised of The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi) but also the entire saga.

In chronological order (including the spinoff films), your viewing order is:
1. The Phantom Menace
2. Attack of the Clones
3. Revenge of the Sith
4. Solo: A Star Wars Story
5. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
6. A New Hope
7. The Empire Strikes Back
8. Return of the Jedi
9. The Force Awakens
10. The Last Jedi
11. The Rise of Skywalker

In recent years, however, fans have produced what’s known as ‘The Machete Cut’ which is an altered viewing order that mixes up the original and prequel trilogies in order to better tell the story of Anakin’s downfall into Darth Vader.

The Machete Cut removes The Phantom Menace entirely from the viewing order as, in the grand scheme of Anakin’s story, it’s not overly relevant. The Machete Cut order would be:
1. A New Hope
2. The Empire Strikes Back
3. Attack of the Clones
4. Revenge of the Sith
5. Return of the Jedi
6. The Force Awakens
7. The Last Jedi
8. The Rise of Skywalker

What this order now provides is the Luke/Vader conflict up until the big info bomb that Vader drops in Ep. V which delves into Anakin/Vader’s backstory immediately after and we get the explanation for everything Obi-Wan tells Luke in original movies.

Now of course, there’s always Star Wars: The Clone Wars, the animated series that fills the (substantially) large gap between Ep. II and III. In this time, Anakin helps lead the Galactic Republic against the Separatists, has a Jedi padawan (Ahsoka) and also just builds the entire galaxy as an actual warzone, one more potent than what we see at the end of Attack of the Clones.

The Clone Wars also sets up the conflict between the Jedi and the Separatist droid leader, General Grievous, as a backstory was hinted at in Ep. III yet nothing was shown.

With The Rise of Skywalker also closing out the story of the sequel trilogy, it will be interesting to see how director JJ Abrams will pick up the reigns from Rian Johnson and The Last Jedi. Ep. VIII was, without a doubt, the most polarizing Star Wars movie. It took a number of daring risks, more so than any previous Star Wars movie, yet, it also seemed to derail the story that Ep. VII was building.

It subverted expectations in a number of ways, like who Rey’s parents really were, who Supreme Leader Snoke was and how important to the story he was, who Luke had become, what the Force can actually do… and not all of these landed for everyone. Disney had to reassess their strategy for Star Wars not long after the release of The Last Jedi in order to not lose the fanbase completely.

The Rise of Skywalker aims to bring back the tone and visual style of The Force Awakens, but also return to the story Abrams was originally telling. A recent TV spot hints at the fact that the story of Rey’s parentage is not yet over, and of course now we’ll have Emperor Palpatine returning as (apparently) the true puppet master behind Snoke and The First Order.

Whether or not The Rise of Skywalker can reel the alienated fans back is yet to be seen.

Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker hits theatres on Dec. 20.

Rainn Wilson visit postponed

A 2020 visit to Humber College by Rainn Wilson — who played Dwight Schrute on The Office — originally scheduled for January has been postponed due to an “unforeseen conflict with his production schedule”, IGNITE said in a statement posted on Friday.

“We appreciate your patience as we work towards a new date,” the student union, which has scheduled the actor as a guest for its Real Talks series, posted to its Instagram Story, adding that any updates will be published on IGNITE’s social media and on its website.

Although The Office has been off the air for a few years at this point, the legacy of Dunder Mifflin Paper Co. still has a strong grip on pop culture and television as a whole.

The jokes of Dwight Schrute, Michael Scott, Jim Halpert, Pam Beasley and all of the wild and wacky employees from Scranton, PA can still be heard quoted both in-person and online.

Wilson won the SAG award for Performance in an Ensemble Cast for comedy series for The Office in 2004, 2007 and 2008 which he shared with his costars of the show.

In the time since The Office left TV, Wilson has founded the website and YouTube channel SoulPancake. The channel tackles the human experience and focuses on those who have the ability to change the world.

Wilson has also been part of numerous movements that focus on the betterment of the planet and has recently switched to a vegan lifestyle. He was involved with Justin Wu’s UN Climate Change project in order to bring aware to the crisis that the global community is facing for the foreseeable future.

Tickets for the event were to go on sale on Jan. 2 and would have been $5 for Humber and Guelph-Humber students and $15 for non-Humber students and guests. Only one guest would have been allowed per Humber or Guelph-Humber student.

Reporting by Nicholas Seles;
Editing by Eli Ridder.

Toronto FC re-sign Bradley to new deal

TFC captain Michael Bradley signed onto a three-year TAM deal on Thursday.

Bradley joined the club in 2014 as a designated player, he signed a six-year deal worth $39 million USD. The club have now signed him on a targeted allocation money deal, which will see him earn around $1.5 million per season for the next three years.

“I feel so attached to the city of Toronto, the club, the team. I love it here and I am really proud of what we’ve been able to do over the past six years,” Bradley said during the press conference.

In Bradley’s six seasons with TFC, he has led the club to three Canadian Championships, three Eastern Conference Championships, one Supporters’ Shield and one MLS Cup. He was an integral part in the 2017 side that won the treble.

Bradley made his 200th appearance for the Reds in the 2019 MLS Cup in November, he joined Justin Morrow and Jonathan Osorio in the 200 club.

He has scored 13 goals and contributed 28 assists across all competitions since he was signed.

Bradley signing on TAM means he will no longer take up a designated player spot. Each MLS club is allowed to have up to three designated players, and two of three TFC’s slots are taken up by striker Jozy Altidore and midfielder Alejandro Pozuelo.

The organization has made it clear this offseason that they want to sign a striker as a designated player to help Altidore with goalscoring capabilities.

TFC begin their season on February 29 in California against the San Jose Earthquakes.


Featured image from Toronto FC.

UK Tories set to win majority, confirming Brexit

The future of Brexit was practically confirmed as key exit polls from British broadcasters on Thursday showed that the United Kingdom voted in a Conservative Party majority government under Prime Minister Boris Johnson, decimating liberal parties and handing London a clear mandate to depart the European Union.

The Tories have been projected to win 368 ridings, giving Johnson a majority of 86 seats, a comfortable lead in the 650-seat parliament that will allow his government to pass legislation with ease, including leaving the EU by Jan. 31.

The exit polls are considered reliable and Johnson’s win is outside the margin of error. The prime minister called the snap election, the first during the December holiday season in nearly a century, so that he could solidify political support for the Brexit movement. 

The exit poll was produced by three broadcasters – the BBC, ITV and Sky – who teamed up to jointly produce similar surveys in the last three elections, held in 2010, 2015 and 2017. They predicted the correct election outcome with the exception of 2015, when 14 seats gave the Tories a majority instead of a hung parliament.

Quebec’s religious symbols ban survives ruling

Quebec’s contentious law banning religious symbols for public employees survived a key ruling on Thursday by the province’s Court of Appeal, however, it is not the final say on Bill 21 as more legal challenges await.

The court refused a motion by the Canadian Civil Liberties Association and the National Council of Canadian Muslims to suspend the law. The CCLA and NCCM argued the law was outside Quebec’s jurisdiction, was vague and violated rights guaranteed in the constitution. 

Quebec’s government claims the law aims to preserve secularism in the Francophone-dominated province. It specifically bans civil workers such as teachers and government service workers from wearing crosses, hijabs and other religious attire while working.

Multiple lawsuits have been filed against the bill claiming discrimination and that it is unconstitutional. Thursday’s 2-1 decision does not legally impact four separate lawsuits filed on a similar basis.

New Democrat Leader Jagmeet Singh came under fire during the federal election campaign for refusing to say he would intervene on the legislation. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was not certain either, and said his government “might” intervene.

All three of the justices wrote in their decision that the law is causing “irreparable harm” to those impacted, particularly women, CBC reported.

 

Andrew Scheer resigning as Conservative Party leader

After failing to claim a win in the federal election and amid revelations that he used party money to pay for his children’s private schooling, Andrew Scheer said on Thursday he will resign as leader of the Conservative Party.

Scheer said he will remain as leader until a replacement is chosen in remarks to the House of Commons after the news broke, adding that he will ask the party to start the process of a leadership contest. He will remain the member of parliament for Regina–Qu’Appelle.

“In order to chart the course ahead in the direction this party is heading, the party needs someone who can give 100 per cent,” Scheer, who led the Conservatives in winning the popular vote. Because the Tory ballots were concentrated in prairie provinces, the party was unable to win the most ridings.

His resignation comes as a direct result of new revelations that he was using party money to pay for his children’s private schooling, according to Conservative sources who spoke with Global News. The money was spent without permission from the Tory fund board.

Though the decision to resign was not made lightly, Scheer cited conversations with his loved ones, and said he “felt it was time to put my family first”.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau thanked Scheer for his service in parliament and said “I wish him all the very, very best in his next steps” while acknowledging the sacrifices made by the families of politicians.

Once again, reporters barred from IGNITE Board meeting

Two student reporters from The Avro Post were told they could not enter a Board of Directors meeting at Lakeshore Campus on Wednesday evening by Chairperson Neto Naniwambote, once again breaking the student union’s own bylaws.

The bylaws state that Board meetings are open to members — all students — unless the directors then and there pass a motion to exclude the members from the meeting.

Because reporters arrived at what was scheduled to be the beginning of the meeting, it is clear there was no such vote for Wednesday. Minutes released from September and October show no such vote took place.

IGNITE broke its own bylaws when an official told a student journalist in September that she could not enter what turned out later to be a critical Board meeting and continues to do so each time it blocks students without a vote.

In October, four reporters from The Post attempted to find a meeting scheduled to take place in North Campus. Despite being early to the location of where they typically occur, the reporters were unable to find any directors

The November meeting was scheduled to take place in the University of Guelph-Humber. It appeared as though it was taking place inside a conference room on the first floor of the Atrium but reporters were unable to verify.

The organization also removed the exact times and meeting locations that were posted in the summer sometime between Aug. 14 and Sept. 11 — another violation of its bylaws that they have not addressed.

As pressure mounts from student journalists and those that follow student politics to create more transparency, IGNITE has been holding Board of Directors meetings without allowing access.

The Board meetings were set for 6 p.m. before the time was deleted from the IGNITE website. Room numbers were also given and can still be previewed via a website cataloging service

Reporting by Kristy Lam, Eli Ridder.

RSU executives resign, another survives impeachment vote

Two Ryerson Student Union executives resigned before a dramatic meeting on Tuesday evening where the RSU’s Board of Directors voted against removing its vice president of education and was forced to table a vote on impeaching one of its executives after it ran out of time.

The process started when a motion was passed at a Nov. 13 Board meeting to hold executive accountable when not working their full 40-hour workweeks, The Eyeopener reported. Notices of removal were moved at a Nov. 27 meeting with the reasoning that three of the executives broke the 40-hour rule found in the RSU’s bylaws.

The motion stated that executives have been requested “three times” to work the required hours from 10 a.m. from 6 p.m. but “many of them refuse to abide by this rule”, according to The Eyeopener. An agenda for Tuesday detailed motions to remove Vice President Equity Naja Pereira, Vice President Education Kwaku Agyemang and Vice President Operations Augustine Onuh.

Before the meeting began and the motions could be considered, two of the executives resigned with brief, curt statements to The Eyeopener.

Pereira called the environment at the RSU an “unhealthy and damaging one” and sought guidance from medical professionals ahead of her resignation.

Vice President Marketing Victoria Anderson-Garnder told the Eyeopener that she had resigned from her position and a resignation letter was read out loud at the Tuesday meeting by another executive. Anderson-Gardner cited “high stresses” and “physical, emotional and spiritual” impact since she started her term, reported The Eyeopener’s Madi Wong.

Agyemang survived a vote on his impeachment. A director against removing the vice president called it “hasty” as the 40-hour accountability motion was just passed by the Board, according to reports of the Tuesday meeting. Another director questioned why the vice president would be in the role if he is not completing a minimum of hours.

Onuh faced a two-part motion of impeachment that stated he did not fulfil the required hours and violated a harassment bylaw. He defended himself, saying that he had little preparation for the role and that he was working overtime to make up the hours.

In response to the allegation of harassment, The Eyeopener’s editor-in-chief tweeted that Onuh did not recall a phone call where the accusation stems from, adding that he should be given an opportunity to defend himself.

However, the meeting was forced to come to a close at 10:35 p.m. as the space was booked. Thus, the motion for impeaching Onuh was pushed until the January 2020 meeting of the Board of Directors.

IGNITE, the student union representing students at Humber College and the University of Guelph-Humber, last removed an executive in 2016 when former vice president Mikki Decker did not fulfill academic requirements. More recently, a vice president that went by just Simran stepped down over the summer and was replaced via a hiring process.

Greta Thunberg Time Person of the Year

Climate activist Greta Thunberg was announced as Time Magazine’s Person of the Year for 2019 on Wednesday after gaining global fame for her environmental advocacy and high-level meetings with premiers from around the world.

At age 16, Thunberg is the youngest ever to be bestowed with the prestigious title. Time’s editor-in-chief told NBC’s Today show that the Swede “became the biggest voice on the biggest issue facing the planet this year”.

Thunberg launched her advocacy alone and without fame when she protested with a sign reading “school strike for the climate” outside the Swedish parliament during school hours on Fridays at the age of 15.

Her efforts grew into a movement that spread across Europe and quickly the world as well under the “Fridays For Future” movement. Millions in 150 countries were stirred to action and still now protests continue globally and in Canadian cities.

Notably, Thunberg arrived in New York earlier this year by boat and addressed the United Nations General Assembly, chastising world leaders for inaction on climate change and declaring “how dare you”.

Thunberg is currently attending a U.N. climate change summit in Spain’s Madrid where world leaders are discussing the implementation of the 2015 Paris climate accords. Canada is a signatory on the agreement but Thunberg has been critical of Ottawa over fossil fuels.

Raptors snap losing streak with win in Chicago

The Toronto Raptors ended a three-game winless streak on Monday when they defeated the Chicago Bulls 93-92.

Illinois native Fred VanVleet did not play because of a right knee injury he sustained on Sunday against Philadelphia.

Pascal Siakam led Raptors scorers with 22 points. Norman Powell had 17. Kyle Lowry had 11 points, seven rebounds and seven assists. OG Anunoby scored 10.

Marc Gasol scored nine points and had nine rebounds. Serge Ibaka recorded a double-double off the bench with 11 points and 14 boards.

Zach Lavine scored all of his 20 points in the first half, he added 11 rebounds onto his stat-sheet. Wendell Carter Jr. and Daniel Gafford scored 14 points each.

Lauri Markkanen and Denzel Valentine scored 13 apiece. Tomas Satoransky recorded a double-double with 10 points and 11 assists.

Anunoby did a number of things throughout the game on both ends of the floor.

Gasol recorded four blocks, including this one that helped his team preserve the lead.

The Raptors return home to Scotiabank Arena on Wednesday to host Kawhi Leonard and the Los Angeles Clippers.

Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.


Featured image from Toronto Raptors.

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