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Global News: Kitchener

Part 3 of Ontario’s fall COVID-19 pandemic preparedness plan to be released

Health Minister Christine Elliott's office has confirmed the announcement will provide spending details related to testing and case and contact management.

CTV News Kitchener

Masks will be mandatory in taxis, common areas in apartments starting Sept. 28

Face coverings will be mandatory in Waterloo Region taxis and rideshares, along with in common areas of apartments and condo buildings, starting on Sept. 28.

CTV News Kitchener

Education ministry reviewing symptom list for students to help relieve pressure on testing sites

As more people flood to COVID-19 testing sites in Waterloo Region and around Ontario, the provincial government is reviewing its symptom list for students.

Global News: Kitchener

Coronavirus: NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh says COVID-19 exposed problems, says action needed

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh on Wednesday, following an address by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, said that COVID-19 had exposed problems facing Canadians, but those are issues that existed before the pandemic and were not addressed. He urged Trudeau that action needs to be made now on issues like pharmacare and dental care, adding they will...

Global News: Kitchener

Coronavirus: Conservative leader Erin O’Toole calls for vigilance against COVID-19, criticizes Trudeau for response

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole on Wednesday called for continued vigilance in the fight against COVID-19, but also said that under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Canada has “never been more divided.” He said he’s urged Trudeau to provide help for small businesses, ensure faster and better access to testing options and to work on ongoing western...

Global News: Kitchener

Coronavirus: Trudeau says Canada can ‘bend the curve’ together again

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Wednesday said that together Canadians can help “bend the curve” again, stressing they can “define the change” and while Canada is at a “crossroads,” they can get out of the pandemic.

Global News: Kitchener

Coronavirus: Blanchet says healthcare is Quebec’s ‘exclusive responsibility’

Accusing the federal government of trampling on a matter of Quebec sovereignty, Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet called matters of healthcare Quebec’s “exclusive responsibility” and said Trudeau has ignored pleas from Quebec and elsewhere to increase transfer payments to the provinces address rising healthcare costs.

CTV News Kitchener

System outage at Public Health Ontario may result in delayed COVID-19 test results

Public Health Ontario (PHO) said that some COVID-19 test results may be delayed due to a system “outage” that is preventing staff from accessing the information.

Global News: Kitchener

Coronavirus: Trudeau says government will keep investing to ‘shoulder debt’ over Canadians

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Wednesday said that the federal government would keep investing to help Canadians because he would rather the government “shoulder debt” over the public, including by extending the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) through to next summer. He said the Canada Emergency Business Account would also be expanded to help business...

CTV News Kitchener

Motorcyclist killed in Kitchener crash; police say another failed to remain at scene

A 24-year-old man has died after his motorcycle and a car collided in Kitchener on Wednesday evening.

Global News: Kitchener

Coronavirus: Trudeau says 2nd wave of COVID-19 infections ‘already underway’ in 4 biggest provinces

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Wednesday said that in Canada’s four biggest provinces the second wave was not just starting, “it’s already underway.” He said they’re “on the brink of a fall” that could be worse than the spring, but by taking actions now Canadians still have a shot at being able to gather at...

Global News: Kitchener

Ontario looks to move standardized testing online, will pilot some testing this year

Education Minister Stephen Lecce says the Education Quality and Accountability Office, which creates and administers the assessments, started the procurement process Wednesday.

CTV News Kitchener

Long-term care homes preparing for second wave of COVID-19

Long-term care homes in Waterloo Region have been on the front lines of the pandemic since it began in the fall and now they're getting ready for a second wave.

Global News: Kitchener

Wellington County sees 4 men charged with sexual assault in less than a week: OPP

Wellington County OPP say four men have been charged in four separate investigations.

Global News: Kitchener

Parts shortage halts production at Toyota plants in Cambridge, Woodstock

Production at Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada’s plants in Cambridge and Woodstock has come to a halt.

Global News: Kitchener

Supreme Court reserves judgment in Canada’s carbon tax cases

A decision by the Supreme Court of Canada on the constitutionality of the carbon tax could take several more months.

Global News: Kitchener

First Nations take Ontario government to court over environmental protections

Several Indigenous groups are taking the Ontario government to court over recently rescinded environmental protections, arguing the province's move violates their constitutional rights.

Global News: Kitchener

Brantford police offer reward for information regarding murder of Hamilton man

A joint investigation is offering a $50,000 reward for information on the 2019 murder of a Hamilton man in Brantford.

Global News: Kitchener

Coronavirus: Health Canada ‘sitting on their hands’ when it comes to testing, Ford says

When asked about hours-long wait times for COVID-19 tests across the province, Ontario Premier Doug Ford on Wednesday said that “Health Canada has been sitting on their hands” in his opinion, adding that the organization lacks a sense of urgency, and as a result, he’s “handcuffed” on additional testing ramp-ups. Ford reassured Canadians that he...

Global News: Kitchener

Man arrested in downtown Kitchener after people threatened with pellet rifle

A 62-year-old Kitchener man was arrested after police received a report of a man walking around in the downtown area with a rifle on Wednesday night.

Global News: Kitchener

Ontario announces COVID-19 testing to be expanded to pharmacies

Starting Friday, the Ontario government announced select pharmacies will begin offering COVID-19 tests to people who aren't experiencing symptoms of the virus as part of its fall preparedness plan.

CTV News Kitchener

Kitchener drive-thru COVID-19 testing site to reopen by appointment only on Thursday

Kitchener's drive-thru COVID-19 testing site was closed down early on Wednesday morning after staff reportedly faced verbal abuse and threats of violence.

Global News: Kitchener

Coronavirus: Ontario to expand asymptomatic COVID-19 testing in pharmacies

Ontario will be expanding COVID-19 for asymptomatic individuals in pharmacies, announced Deputy Premier and Minister of Health Christine Elliott on Wednesday. Starting Friday, people with no symptoms of the coronavirus can visit select pharmacies by appointment only for free testing.

Global News: Kitchener

Coronavirus: Ontario deputy premier announces expanded saliva testing for COVID-19 in 3 hospitals

During a briefing in Hunstville, Ont., Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced on Wednesday expanded saliva testing for COVID-19 at three hospitals in the province. This method of testing is less invasive, and is easier for children than the traditional nasal swab. Ford also called upon Health Canada regarding further expansion of saliva testing, stating all...

Global News: Kitchener

17 more COVID-19 cases reported in Waterloo Region, total rises to 1,653

Waterloo Public Health announced 17 more positive tests for the coronavirus on Wednesday bringing the total number of cases in the area to 1,653.

Global News: Kitchener

2 COVID-19 cases linked to Guelph after-school program

The Ontario government has linked two confirmed COVID-19 cases to an after-school program in Guelph. 

Global News: Kitchener

3 Waterloo Region daycares now under outbreak status

Inspiring Minds Early Learning Centre in Wellesley, FunCare Learning Centre in Elmira, and YWCA KW St. Paul Childcare in Kitchener join a growing provincial list.

The Cord

Editor’s note: picking the prison of your choice isn’t a punishment

Reading Time: 2 minutes

On Sept. 18, actress Lori Loughlin —known for her roles in Full Houseand the college admissions scandal —was sentenced to two months in the prison of her choice.

The actress and her husband Mossimo Giannulli were involved in a scheme to facilitate cheating on standardized tests and bribing college coaches to give her two daughters an advantage in the college admissions process.

This scheme was run by William “Rick” Singer, who pleaded guilty. Felicity Huffmann, most known for her role in Desperate Housewives, is another notable celebrity who was found trying to scam the college admissions board. 

Loughlin was among those who paid a higher fee to Singer to help their children — they have been accused of paying $500,000 to Singer to have their daughters pose as USC athletes, while Huffman was accused of paying $15,000. 

However, while Singer and Huffman plead guilty, Loughlin and her husband initially tried to fight the charges. 

In exchange for Huffman’s plea, prosecutors recommended incarceration at the low end of the sentencing range. She was sentenced to 14 days in prison last September, although she was ultimately released a few days early.

In May, Loughlin and Giannulli changed their course and decided to plead guilty.

Now, Loughlin must serve two months in federal prison, perform 100 hours of community service and must pay a fine of $150,000.

Her husband is sentenced to five months in prison, 250 hours of community service and must pay a $250,000 fine. 

First, it doesn’t seem like a total $400 000 fine would be much of a punishment for a couple who was willing to drop half a million for their daughters to get into college, but I digress. 

Regardless, the biggest shock is that Loughlin will be granted to serve her sentence at the prison of her choice. 

This has caused conversation among many, with notable celebrities such as LeBron James and Viola Davis weighing in as well.

Since the beginning of the scandal, Loughlin’s case has been compared to those who have committed lesser crimes whilst receiving harsher punishment. 

One example of this is Kelly Williams-Bolar, who served nine days in jail after she was found guilty of using her father’s address instead of her own in an attempt to enroll her daughters in a better school district than the one they were supposed to be enrolled in.

Another example, which has been used heavily in juxtaposition with the college admissions scandal, is of Tanya McDowell who was sentenced to serve five years in prison for falsifying her residence to change her child’s school district. 

Although these cases involve different criminal charges, different circumstances and different criminal jurisdictions, many have drawn the comparison in order to highlight the preferential treatment towards celebrities who commit crimes. 

With all things considered, it’s clear that Lori Loughlin’s punishment is very lenient and isn’t much of a punishment at all. 

However, as easy as it is to blame Loughlin for her privilege, perhaps some of the blame should be placed on the judge as well. 

Her character has been revealed with her crime, but the judges who gave her the light sentence should also be criticized for enabling these behaviours in those of upper-class. 

Preferential treatment should be entirely unacceptable in criminal cases, even if celebrities are the ones in the hot seat. 

Negotiating punishment is something you can do with kids who may not know right from wrong. It’s not something you can do with celebrities who consciously broke the law. 

If anything, this case has further revealed the corruption in celebrity culture, as well as the criminal justice system. 

The Cord

Editorial: celebrating the Schitt’s Creek Emmy wins

Reading Time: 2 minutes

The 72nd Annual Emmy Awards aired virtually over Zoom this past Sunday night, marking a first for the televised event that celebrates the best in TV.  

Since the onset of COVID-19 put the world at a standstill back in March, many aspects of life have been upturned and re-adapted to suit what is “normal” in the current time we live in, including the way entertainment is delivered and consumed.  

And while it was truly bizarre to watch Jimmy Kimmel, this year’s host, address a near-empty Staples Center in Los Angeles where a crowd should have been sitting and to see masked recipients handed their awards, there were some bright spots in this reformatted Emmy’s ceremony.  

And for me, it was seeing Schitt’s Creek sweep the comedy category.  

The Canada-made series is one of my all-time favourite shows, and I could not be more pleased that it’s (finally) gotten the recognition that it rightly deserves.  

They took home nine Emmys in total, with each member of the fictitious Rose family accepting their own acting awards.  

This hidden gem of a show started from humble beginnings and near obscurity just a few years ago and has since grown into a widely adored sitcom.   

Like many people, I’ve leaned on my Netflix account to find comfort and an escape during these uncertain times.  

Rewatching seasons of Schitt’s Creek has certainly helped that process, even though I was gutted when the last episode aired in April.  

There’s a genuine warmth and a familiarity woven into the town of Schitt’s Creek and the characters who inhabit it, and it feels singularly unique in the way that the show presents its story.  

Dan Levy, co-creator and star as the beloved David Rose, managed to build a television safe- space where acceptance and inclusivity are second nature, and individuality and wackiness are openly embraced.  

This year hasn’t been a year of wins, but watching the Schitt’s Creek’s cast accept their slew of awards, filled with absolute joy for themselves and each other, was a reassuring and welcome distraction to be a part of.  

I generally find award shows to be predictable and disappointing, but I was pleasantly surprised that this time they seemed to get a few things right.   

It’s nice to see a Canadian TV show be so well-received and appreciated for the love and joy that it promotes.  

And even if it’s trivial, it makes me appreciate the attempt at normalcy that the Emmys provided this year: a small reminder of what things used to be like, even if they’re still so different.   

The Cord

When can I expect the next season of The Witcher?: COVID-19’s impact on the film industry

Reading Time: 3 minutes ♦Photo by Darien Funk

As a result of the COVID-19 lockdown, streaming services like Netflix saw a massive influx of users worldwide, claiming an all-time high for their subscription numbers in 2020’s first quarter.  

This was to be expected when people had nothing else to do but stay home and watch TV. But after the initial shock of COVID-19, we are left to wonder what is going to happen to the new seasons [of] our favourite Netflix shows and how people are going to get new entertainment content. 

My family and I enjoyed quarantine because we were able to watch movies like The Godfather on a whim one Sunday afternoon, and start new shows that we had been meaning to watch. However, after binging some new shows like The Witcher, Glow, and Stranger Things, we’re left hopeless of a new season anytime soon. While various film and television productions halted in March, several have yet to pick back up. 

But this is understandable. Even though film and television production teams are eager to get back out there, the health and safety of everyone involved is a priority, and it looks like productions are going to be very stop-and-go with COVID-19 still around. 

The production of The Batman starring Robert Pattinson, started back up at the beginning of September but quickly paused when a person involved, supposedly Pattinson himself, tested positive for the virus. Yet, Warner Bros. announced on Sept. 17 that production would be starting once again.  

COVID-19 is causing a slow burn for film and television productions, but hopefully, returning to safe sets will help kickstart the entertainment industry and adapt to finding better ways to return to work during the pandemic. 

With the recent release of a second season of Netflix’s Umbrella Academy, I haven’t lost complete faith in new entertainment during the pandemic. As Netflix announces productions for The Witcher season two, Stranger Things season four, and the Ryan Reynold’s-starring Red Notice, I have some faith that Netflix will reach their promise of more Netflix originals in 2021 than 2020.  

Even though we’re all influenced to stay home, the film and television industry is more than just streaming services. While in-person movie theatres were forced to shut down and economically suffer alongside other businesses, it’s not the end for the silver screen. 

With the majority of Canada in a Stage 3 situation, Canadian movie-goers have gotten a sneak peek of new movies before they were released to U.S. markets. The Spongebob Movie: Sponge on the Run, Unhinged, and Tenet were released to Canadian cinemas in August due to the fact that most Canadian theatres were open and running as efficiently as possible.  

Even though theatres have limits of 50 people, US studios were able to use Canadian cinemas as a test run to make better decisions for promotional budgets (i.e. should the film be released in theatres or straight to online rental?) While we might feel special for finally being the ones to get the early releases first, it’s ultimately a very smart marketing strategy for production companies.  

Critics further say that streaming services won’t beat out the big screen because productions make more off the sale of a movie ticket than a subscription to a streaming service. So even though cinemas aren’t what they used to be, they’re still profitable businesses. 

Having said this, it will be interesting to see in the coming year who is able to get back into production, which movies will hit the big screen, and how streaming services like Netflix, plan to make more content. 

CTV News Kitchener

Another COVID-19 outbreak declared at Waterloo Region child-care setting

Region of Waterloo Public Health officials have declared an outbreak at a child-care setting in Wellesley after a staff member tested positive for COVID-19.

Global News: Kitchener

Teen killed in horseback riding accident near Hamilton was ‘an absolute joy to teach’

A 14-year-old who died in a riding accident in Flamborough is being remembered as an 'experienced horse person' with passion.

Global News: Kitchener

Driver sped out of Guelph school zone twice to avoid parking ticket: police

The red Dodge Ram was first spotted parked in a no-stopping area of a school zone near Imperial and Paisley roads on Monday morning.

Global News: Kitchener

Ontario reports 335 new coronavirus cases, 69% under the age of 40

According to Wednesday's provincial report, 102 new cases were recorded in Toronto, 79 in Peel Region, 65 in Ottawa, and 30 in York Region.

Global News: Kitchener

Kitchener drive-thru COVID-19 testing clinic closed for safety concerns

Police were called in to help with a burgeoning traffic nightmare which had sprawled across the Belmont area of Kitchener.

The Cord

The onset of the COVID-19 second wave: why numbers are rising and how we’re fighting the surge

Reading Time: 3 minutes ♦Photo by Darien Funk

Last week, 28 students at Western University tested positive for the virus. Their interactions were traced to gatherings at local restaurants and nightclubs while they shared drinks and e-cigarettes; another seven cases were linked to a single house party. Wilfrid Laurier University also announced over the weekend that four of its students tested positive. 

After these COVID-19 outbreaks, I sincerely hope this is a wake-up call for students and other young adults not following the public health and safety protocols.  

London Mayor Ed Holder said: “To those who are part of the problem, I cannot put it any more plainly. If this continues, you are going to kill someone.”    

While you might say this is a dramatic statement, it’s unfortunately true. Since the virus’s incubation period can range from one to 14 days, we may not know we have the virus until getting tested, and we may never be able to fully track its transmission per individual.  

Throughout the summer we saw some relaxation of public health and social measures, but we are faced with the choice to either stop partying now or prepare for another lockdown. 

Statistics show that most of the recent cases involve young people and are often caused by mass gatherings like parties, but also include large family gatherings for weddings, birthdays, etc. Therefore, as you can probably guess, the spike in COVID-19 numbers is caused by improper forms of physical distancing. 

As a result, the Ontario government has taken its first steps in a second lockdown by limiting the number of people at indoor gatherings to 10 people, and outdoor gatherings to 25 people.  

Ontario Premier Doug Ford stated that people caught violating these guidelines will face severe fines, in order to deter people from gathering in large groups.  

The Ontario government has issued a minimum $10,000 fine for organizers of illegal gatherings, and a minimum $750 fine for guests at illegal gatherings. Still not convinced? Canadian universities have also decided to reprimand students who are putting the community’s health at risk with the threat of expulsion if caught violating public health and safety protocols.   

Some university students are arguing that the government, rather than students, are to blame since they’ve known students will be returning to schools in September, and that they would be partying and socializing; therefore, the government should have done a better job of creating a targeted campaign. 

While there’s always room for improvement, this argument proves the immaturity of students who claim themselves to be “adults.” The fact that some students and young adults cannot abide by the rules for the sake of public health shows just how naive and ignorant they really are.  

Going to parties in a pandemic is like smoking cigarettes or vaping. You think you look cool but it’s really not cool at all; it’s irresponsible and endangers your health and the health of others. There are other ways to have fun and socialize that don’t threaten the lives of those around you. 

If major fines aren’t going to deter you from partying and gathering, think of all the other side effects. Becoming infected with COVID-19 would force you to stay in your room or house for 14 days after you’re clear of symptoms, cause setbacks in school by not having the energy for homework and contribute to a decrease in mental well-being.  

For those of you who have been following the COVID-19 guidelines, I thank you. For those of you who choose to ignore the COVID-19 guidelines, I hope you can re-evaluate your actions and realize we can’t beat this virus alone. We’re not in bad shape and there is still time to change for the better, but we need to assert our collective responsibility and be accountable.  

CTV News Kitchener

By the time they opened, these COVID-19 testing centres had full lineups

It's becoming a familiar story for those wanting to get tested for COVID-19: an early morning to get in line at one of the region's testing centres, where lines are capped before they even open.

CTV News Kitchener

COVID-19 testing is coming to Ontario pharmacies this week. Here's how it will work

Ontario Premier Doug Ford has announced COVID-19 tests will be available in up to 60 pharmacies across the province starting on Friday.

Global News: Kitchener

Coronavirus: Brantford extends mandatory face covering bylaw

Councillors voted to review the legislation again in November.

The Cord

Waterloo regional council votes unanimously to extend mask bylaw into the spring

Reading Time: 2 minutes ♦Photo by Mackenzie Schuler

The Waterloo Regional Council has unanimously voted in favour of extending the mask bylaw into the spring in an effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

The bylaw was originally put into effect on July 13 and was slated to remain until Sept. 30, with the option for the council to extend it.

The bylaw will now be in place until May 31, 2021.

“As much as there are people that still find this mandatory mask bylaw controversial and people that objected for a variety of reasons, the compliance in Waterloo Region has been extremely high,” Karen Redman, Regional Chair said. 

Alongside her role as the regional chair, Redman is also the chair of the Public Health Board of Waterloo Region.

“All of our regional councilors make up the membership of the Public Health Board. So, we take advice from the Medical Officer of Health very seriously and we take our role protecting public health very seriously.”

“This council’s very good at heeding evidence-based decisions,” Redman added.

Redman said that when the council heard from local commercial enterprises, stores and businesses, many of them found the bylaw to be helpful. 

“That kind of certainty was really helpful for them, that they were now able to put signs in their windows that ask people to wear masks on the authority of the bylaw.”

“One of the things that the community was really looking for was certainty, which is why we put in the mandatory mask bylaw back in the summer and specifically in areas where you cannot physically distance.”

Such areas include public transit, retail stores, shopping malls and many other indoor public spaces. 

Those who are unable to wear masks have been, and will continue to be, exempt from the bylaw. 

This includes children under the age of five, those with medical conditions or disabilities that prevent them from wearing face coverings, and those engaged in sport or strenuous physical activity. 

“We also wanted to really underscore that nobody needs to prove they have an exemption. They don’t need a doctor’s certificate and they shouldn’t be challenged […] We didn’t want it to be a confrontation between store owners and patrons or one person in the community against another,” Redman said. 

“We’ve gone on education rather than just enforcement, we haven’t written very many tickets.” 

The council is moving with caution now that students are returning to the region.

“The demographic that is now showing that it is the highest rate of community spread are the 19 to 29 [age] bracket,” Redman said. 

“I think there’s a huge concern about young people adhering to the guidance of public health, and public health guidance still is social distancing, physical distancing, good hand [washing] hygiene, stay home if you’re sick and get tested if you have symptoms.” 

“Now is not the time to take the community spread of COVID-19 for granted,” Redman added.

The Cord

Ways to stay healthy and active beyond the gym

Reading Time: 2 minutes ♦Contributed image

Gyms have began re-opening their doors after the COVID-19 pandemic was announced in March 2020. Even with gyms open, many people have many understandable objections for going to the gym. Here are some fun ways to stay active at home!

If you are back at your university housing or staying at home this semester, it is important to keep active after a day of Zoom classes. Not everyone feels comfortable going to the gym right now, limiting peoples daily activities. 

If you live in a house, an apartment, or even a residence building there are many ways to get active at home! Here are some activities and creative ideas to get your daily thirty minutes of exercise. 

  1. Walk to your destinations

Once or twice a week take a walk to grocery the store or your favourite local coffee shop. This is a great way to get some exercise and a break from schoolwork, while also supporting small businesses that may be struggling due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

2. Visit your local park 

Another easy walking activity is to visit your local park while the weather is still nice. If you are spending this semester in Waterloo check out Waterloo Park. The vast park space offers walking and bike paths, baseball diamonds, soccer fields, basketball courts, and a space to play cricket. There are also many other activities that are held at Waterloo Park.  

3. Online workout classes 

Trips to a coffee shop and walks around Waterloo Park will not always be an option once the cold weather begins, but don’t worry, there are still a great selection of activities to do inside. 

For those of you who enjoy led group workout, try checking out Zoom workout classes. There is a variety of individuals and organizations providing online workout classes. This is a great way to get back into a routine and be with others while social distancing.

4. Home workouts 

If you prefer working out alone but do not know where to start, try using free workout videos on YouTube. These are great for starting a workout routine. Remember, you do not have to follow the work out verbatim, try mixing and matching until you find your ideal routine. 

5. Take the stairs   

If you live in an apartment, try taking the stairs rather than the elevator to get some extra activity at the beginning or end of your day.  If you live in a house, you can also use your stairs for an activity, by going from the top to the bottom of the stairs multiple times (if you want, try alternating speeds for increased difficulty). 

Staying active during the ongoing pandemic has been difficult, but it is important to find little ways to remain active. 

The Cord

Laurier launches Inspiring Conversations webinar series

Reading Time: 2 minutes ♦Photo by Darien Funk

A webinar series has been launched by Wilfrid Laurier University to incite conversations centered on topics related to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“Inspiring Conversations is a new speaker series that we are pleased to introduce to our alumni and to the broader community,” said Bridget McMahon, Laurier assistant vice president of alumni relations in an email statement.    

The Inspiring Conversations series started on Aug. 27 with “The Role of Games in Learning and Connecting” hosted by Julie Mueller, professor and associate dean in the faculty of education and Steve Wilcox, professor in the game design and development program.  

The session explored the ways in which parents can help their children with personal connections through video games in physically distanced environments.  

The next webinar, “New Year’s Take 2: How to Find Motivation When the Future is Uncertain” hosted by Kim Dawson, professor in the department of Kinesiology and Physical Education and Anne Wilson, a professor in the department of psychology is scheduled for Sept. 24 at 11:30 a.m.  

As workplaces and athletic facilities have been opening back up, many people may be hoping to get back into their previous or new routines.  

The ways that members of the community can maintain motivation in starting new habits, such as going to the gym and keeping up with school work, will be covered. 

On Oct. 29, “The Ways US Political Conversations Impact Canadians” webinar will take place, addressing how Canadian residents are impacted by politics in the United States.  

All of the webinars are available to the public at no cost, but registration is required to attend.  

“Through this series, we hope to provide a platform that brings profile and access to some of the exceptional research and thought leadership at Laurier and inspire learning and thought-provoking conversation on topical issues that [are] value-added for all participants,” McMahon said.  

The Cord

Keeping Up With the Kardashians is coming to an end

Reading Time: 3 minutes

After twenty mind-numbing seasons, Keeping Up With The Kardashians is coming to a fitting end. It seems as though the family believes they can make their money elsewhere, exploiting teens across the internet rather than through television.

I felt filthy and desheleved doing research for this piece—only now am I truly ashamed of my search history. Anything these people have ever done publicly has either confused or angered me. Even Kanye West—although I’m not quite sure how he fits into this whole thing—is a social and political nightmare. 

So please don’t expect high praise for your favourite celebreality show here. Instead, consider this article a celebration. Praise the fact that today’s youth will no longer be subjected to such damaging influences—at least not on television.

Although I’m sure the Kardashians will find their own innovative ways to continue deteriorating the malleable minds of young boys and girls this is, by all accounts, a step in the right direction.  

Cancelling the show makes a lot of sense, both for fans and the Kardashians. Many members of the family already spend the majority of their time in the limelight. When you can put your energy and efforts towards selling overpriced, copyrighted t-shirts to children, why bother with the miniscule paycheck of a reality show?

Although I’m baffled by the fact that these people still garner attention, it’s understandable how it all got started. When the show first went on air, society had been entering a new stage of pop culture. The popularity around social media was just heating up—Facebook and Twitter were on the rise—and the popularity of ever-advancing smartphones was only growing.

Keeping Up With the Kardashians fit that narrative. Especially with Paris Hilton continuing her attempt to remain socially significant, it’s no surprise the show attracted viewers.

But I can only say so much about the show, simply because I’ve never watched it. I still don’t know who is who, why they’re famous or why they all look like rubber—even after all my menial research! 

“The cancellation of Keeping Up With the Kardashians means there will be one less show for me to watch,” says Jacqueline Borg, third-year student at Ryerson. 

After asking Borg what the show meant to her, her initial answer made me laugh. “Should I lie?” she replied. “Should I lie and say it means something to me?”

Why we give attention to these types of people I will never know. Especially when so many intelligent humanitarians continue striving for a better world. Sure, the Kardashians have the ability to entertain their audiences but are they making us smart? Are they even bettering our day?

And it shouldn’t surprise us that the Kardashian legacy isn’t going anywhere quite yet. “The Kardashians will continue building their empire through their never-ending bloodline,” Borg explained. So for those of you hoping this year’s Pulitzer Prize winners will begin collecting recognition, get in line.

In a world full of honest, creative and truly genuine people, it’s a shame we as a society have decided to divert our brief attention spans to a family like the Kardashians.

There are people that are extremely easy to come by. It took nothing more than a poorly lit sex tape to rocket Kim into stardom. You’d be pressed to find anyone to tell you there’s skill in anything any of these people do.

In contrast, genuine, creative minds—the people worth our attention—are increasingly difficult to find. They’re limited to their niche, confined to the bounded advertising of their fans. David Sedaris and Alice Munro never aired on adverts during the Superbowl.

Although these people may be popular in their own right—isolated within their little circle of fame—the majority of the global population couldn’t identify Carver from Cheever.

And these are the voices that deserve our attention. A voice that’s honest of our reality rather than one that glorifies their own in opposition to their viewers.

And although I’m clearly biased, I’m happy to see Keeping Up With the Kardashians off the air. Hopefully this will serve as a small yet significant stepping stone as we attempt to stray from passive, mindless consumption.

The Cord

Cuties: Netflix’s unethical exploitations

Reading Time: 3 minutes ♦Photo by Eva Ou

The movie Cuties was recently released onto Netflix amidst massive controversy. For those unaware, the original promotional poster marketing the film showed 11-year-old children wearing revealing attire while making mature poses. 

Many—myself included—found the poster to be grotesque and pedophilic, prompting Netflix to release an apology and an updated, appropriate poster. With the movie being released, I decided to watch it and answer a few questions. 

First, I wanted to decide if the film was pedophilic in nature and what its overall purpose was. Second, I wanted to discover what the film shows and determine if anything they do crosses a line. 

The final question I wanted answered was if this film was really necessary. This was likely one of the hardest films for me to watch and analyze in a long time so if you’re thinking of watching this film, consider reading this article first.

First, the important question: was this film made to appeal to pedophiles? I’m confident in saying no. As I watched the film, it became evident how the over-sexualization of the children was intentionally disturbing. However, I still believe the movie could’ve done more to amplify how disturbing many of the scenes were.

The film succeeds in making the audience feel uncomfortable about how children—pre-teens specifically—are transformed as a result of the internet and our current culture.

I watched an interview with the director after the film and her intentions seemed reasonable. Maïmouna Doucouré used her own experiences as inspiration for the film. 

She explains that she saw pre-teens dancing maturely in the park and was appalled by the display. She made the film with the intention of shedding some light on the problem, deciding that this would be best expressed by disturbing the audience the way she was. 

After watching the film, I understand her message and what she’s attempting to say. The film’s ending is solely about the recapturing of innocence and rejecting the over-sexualized nature of our modern-day society.

However, just because the purpose is pure doesn’t mean that other parts of the film are forgivable.

I was listening to several reviews of this movie and while my common ground with someone like Ben Shapiro fluctuates, I do believe he brought up a good point when discussing Cuties. 

He explained that there’s a line between condemnation and exploitation. The movie in a lot of instances clearly condemns the uncomfortably sexualized activities performed by the underage children. 

However, this condemnation comes at the cost of the actual exploitation of these 11-year-olds.

It drives the point home that what they’re doing is bad. But remember, there are still actual children being used to make the audience uncomfortable.

There are some scenes that are way too grotesque and could be represented in a better way—if not omitted from the film entirely. Sometimes there are scenes where the audience witnesses something incredibly offensive and the film makes no allusion to how horrible the actions being performed really are. 

There are scenes where the main child, Amy, attempts to solicit sex to get out of trouble, later revealing her undergarments. 

There is even a scene where she takes explicit photographs before posting them to social media. These scenes specifically contribute little to the message or plot of the film. 

At the very least, could these scenes not have been replaced with less exploitative content? Fathia Youssouf plays Amy in Cuties and she is the same age as her character: 11. 

You cannot give consent when you are 11 to act out scenes like these or to dress up salaciously while erotically dancing on camera. 

That is not okay and goes too far. There were moments where I could see that Fathia is a genuinely good child actor—which is rare. It would truly be a shame if she was ignored for parts later in her career because of what she was shown doing in Cuties.

Is Cuties something I’d recommend? No. While the film itself is competent, it crosses the line as it exploits pre-teens to ironically promote an anti-exploitation, conservative message. 

I don’t think the film is necessary, but a film that covers this important and scary subject might be. I think with people talented and thoughtful enough, you can make a film that covers similar topics without visibly exploiting children.

Again, I don’t think Doucouré made this movie to exploit children. I think she saw it as a necessity in order to bring attention to the issue. 

However, she has to realize that you can’t dress children up in revealing outfits and make them mimic sex acts. That is never acceptable, regardless of how important the issue is.

The Cord

Chris Evans and the double standard of explicit photographs

Reading Time: 3 minutes ♦Graphic by Daniya Siddique

Last week, Captain America star Chris Evans found himself in an understandably uncomfortable position. 

Evans had intended to share an innocent video of his family playing the popular iPhone game “Heads Up!”.

When the video reached its conclusion, the screen-recorded clip was minimized, further exposing the content of Evan’s camera roll. Along with some confusingly narcissistic photos of Evans’ headshots, present was also a low lit picture of male genitalia. 

The video was quickly deleted but unfortunately for Evans, fans had done some screen recording of their own. Aside his crude exposure, a photo of Evans can be seen with the caption “Guard That P*ssy.”

If past cases of celebrity nude exposure hold true, the reaction to Evans’ accidental leak should have been heinous and cruel. Fortunately for him, this was not the case.

Celebrities, friends and fans alike jumped to Evans’ aid, sharing sentiments of support and understanding. Avengers co-star Mark Ruffalo joined in on the fun, posting to Twitter, “Bro, while Trump is in office there is NOTHING you could possibly do to embarrass yourself.”

Knives Out co-star Jamie Lee Curtis also had something to say about the matter, posting “My boy! Proud of him. Got MY attention!” Respectfully, Evans took advantage of his phallically- prompted fame by posting, “Now that I have your attention [face-palm emoji]…. VOTE Nov 3rd!!!”, to his Twitter page.

To the passive viewer, the story is over. We saw a dick, the dick laughed it off and there’s nothing more to be said, right?

Well, actress Kat Dennings doesn’t seem to share a similar point of view. A few days after Evans’ post, Dennings posted to Twitter, “The public respect for Chris Evans’ privacy/feelings is wonderful. Wouldn’t it be nice if it extended to women when this kind of thing happens?”

Dennings has had her own experience with a similar incident. In 2010, Dennings private, explicit photos were leaked to the public through online hackers. And she has a pretty damn good point.

Jennifer Lawrence, Kirsten Dunst, Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Kate Upton—as well as her husband Justin Verlander—are only a few of the many celebrities to have fallen victim to Apple’s iCloud hacking scandal.And were these celebrities greeted with the respect and understanding like Evans’ was? Not at all. They were shamed for their promiscuity and made to feel embarrassed for the photos that were never intended to reach the public eye.

When nude photos are revealed, society empathizes with and even celebrates men’s sexuality and bodies while simultaneously shaming, vilifying and lashing out at women in similar circumstances,

Sarah Scanlon, Sexual Violence Response Coordinator at Wilfrid Laurier University

There’s a double standard throughout the media. Women are labeled “slutty” or “floozy” for their accidental indecent exposures. They’re expected to feel shame and guilt for their “immoral, unbridled ways”.

On the other hand, men are labeled “endearing”, “charming” or “hunky”—I’m paraphrasing for the sake of modesty—and given the opportunity to laugh off the misunderstanding. 

Houston Astros pitcher Justin Verlander—photographed alongside wife Kate Upton in her leaked photographs—was commended by fans. Regardless of his participation in the content, he was shown respect solely for his association with supermodel Kate Upton.

Jennifer Lawrence was a key contributor in the effort to break this double standard. “It is not a sex crime. It is a sexual violation,” Lawrence said in response to the criticism. “I don’t have anything to say I’m sorry for.”

There is one key factor between Evans’ case and the case of the iCloud hackings: control. Evans had the choice to share his explicit content. The fact that a photo of his genitals was broadcasted to his six million Instagram followers is solely on him.

Lawrence and Upton never had that choice. They’d been robbed of their privacy and subjected to the harsh, unwitting criticism of the public eye. 

“When nude photos are revealed, society empathizes with and even celebrates men’s sexuality and bodies while simultaneously shaming, vilifying and lashing out at women in similar circumstances,” said Sarah Scanlon, Sexual Violence Response Coordinator at Laurier. 

“These disparate responses are even more harmful when women’s photos are being released without their knowledge or consent,” Scanlon said. “Regardless of people’s gender, image-based abuse such as leaking photos or sharing nude photos without explicit consent is an intentional act of sexual violation and exploitation.”

Always keep in mind that Laurier provides support for those going through familiar circumstances to those mentioned above. “You deserve support. It is never your fault and you are not alone,” Scanlon added. “Laurier’s Sexual Violence Support Staff are able to provide support, advocacy, accommodations and information on reporting and complaint processes. Please reach out to svinfo@wlu.ca.”

The Cord

How to stay motivated throughout online courses

Reading Time: 2 minutes

As the global pandemic looms over us, it may feel difficult to focus on our university courses. In addition to the regular stress of university, there are feelings of anxiety and uncertainty caused by COVID-19 and its effects on our daily lives. 

Now that courses are delivered online, we have shifted to a synchronous and asynchronous learning environment. This academic year involves a lot of trial and error, as well as confusion, uncertainty and stress for everyone. However, there are strategies to manage these feelings that might help you feel more prepared to tackle your courses.

There are many strategies for minimizing stress and bringing peace of mind to your study space. First, buy a planner or calendar. Visualizing your due dates and tests right in front of you will allow you to remember these dates and feel more prepared. University goes by fast, and you need to make sure to stay on top of things! 

Next, make sure you know what is happening this week and the following week to help better manage your time. If you have a big assignment due next week with many other tests and quizzes, start the  assignment this week. 

Every learning strategist will tell you that managing your time will help tremendously. It’s very easy to feel overwhelmed with assignments coming in each week, but it’s important to relax and remember that it is possible to finish them all on time. 

As you’ve probably discovered on your own time, post-secondary education requires a lot of studying, but the environment you’re in can heavily impact your mood and ability to focus. Therefore, it’s essential to find or make a study space that works best for you. 

This school year is a particularly time to do this since there are no on-campus study spaces available, or even the chance to get out of the house! Try adding decorations in your living space(s) or growing a plant by your window to help brighten up your space. 

To stay motivated, you can incorporate a schedule, one like you would have if the campus were open. You can assign parts of your day for tasks such as asynchronous course material, Zoom lectures, study times and study breaks (hint, this is a great time to break out your daily planner!). 

As we continue with our university education, it may feel weird or off at times as the global pandemic continues, but it’s important the we try to adapt to our new learning environment and learn to be productive in it.

So, what is Laurier doing to help their students transition into a completely virtual learning environment? There are many supports, and you guessed it, online! 

There are articles on the Laurier website about the transition to online learning, and everyone seems to be learning about online Zoom lectures and assignments. Check out Laurier’s Remote Learning: Student Support Hub to learn more and for access to these supports. Good luck Golden Hawks!

The Cord

Don’t get too excited about life on Venus

Reading Time: 3 minutes ♦Contributed image

David Bowie had it wrong—screw Mars. But before you get too excited about aliens, the ‘life’ we’re talking about is microbial.

Within the clouds of Venus, astronomers have detected a surprising chemical signature: phosphine. This is an exciting discovery since phosphine gas “doesn’t belong in the Venus atmosphere,” said Sara Seager, professor of planetary science and physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Now bear with me as I attempt to talk about chemistry and astrology for the first time in five years.

By no means do scientists think they’ve found life within Venus’ atmosphere. They simply can’t think of what else could have produced phosphine other than microbial life.

On Earth, phosphine is a gas produced by bacteria. As far as human concerns go, the gas is extremely flammable and explosive, and can wreak havoc on our respiratory systems. If you begin to detect hints of garlic or rotting fish in the air, check the stove and get out of there—unless in its purest form, phosphine reeks. 

Scientists aren’t necessarily sure that these results are legitimate—nothing has been verified just yet. There still remains a great deal of skepticism in these findings. “When somebody comes up with an extraordinary observation that hasn’t been made before, you wonder if they could have done something wrong,” says David Grinspoon of the Planetary Science Institute.

The planet itself is completely inhospitable to human life. Not only is Venus’ average temperature around 900 degrees Fahrenheit—about 482 degrees Celsius—its atmospheric pressure is about 90 times more skull crushing than what we experience on Earth.

When somebody comes up with an extraordinary observation that hasn’t been made before, you wonder if they could have done something wrong.

David Grinspoon, Senior Scientist at the Planetary Science Institute

Scientists had given up on Venus as a possible inhabitable planet long ago—but that’s not where the excitement lies here anyways. The fun is in the clouds.

And that’s about where my knowledge of scientific jargon comes to a halt. I won’t waste your time mumbling my way through a poor explanation of the environmental process on Venus. 

If you’re interested in the nitty-gritty parts of this story, there are hundreds of articles that can describe the chemical composition of our twin planet’s atmosphere a whole lot better than I can. Instead, I want to discuss what this information means to the average reader.

From what I can tell, it shouldn’t raise much concern. Sure, it’s exciting for astronomers and space-buffs but for those of you writhing in sheer panic over an extraterrestrial invasion, you’ve got nothing to worry about.

Headlines can be frightening. Just about every article I’ve found online has a title somewhere along the lines of “Scientists have found life on Venus.” In reality, a more fitting title would be “Astronomers may have found the possibility of microbial signatures in Venus’ atmosphere, provided everything checks out.”

Yes, Venus is the closest planet to Earth in our solar system during its orbit, but by no means is it close. Venus rests about 150 million kilometres away from us, which would take around three months to reach using our current space travel technology. Even if microbes could make the trek across the vacuum of space, the most they’d be doing in this case would be stinking up our atmosphere and toying around with the asthmatics.

I understand this explanation may seem trivial or elementary to some, but for the sake of ease and comfort, I feel it needs to be discussed. The idea of space has always frightened me and although news of life on Venus may be exciting to some, it can also be scary.

The last thing we need right now is another uncertainty. Of course I can’t guarantee anything—I’m probably the least qualified man for the job—but of all our Earthly concerns at the moment, Venus shouldn’t be one of them.

So maybe Bowie did have a point. Until we can verify extraterrestrial life, let’s keep it to a theoretical while we still can.

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