From the Archives

We dig through our archives for the obscure, random and memorable moments of Montreal & Concordia history.

  • Fear and Loathing at Concordia

    In 1985, Hunter S. Thompson, the father of so-called “Gonzo Journalism,” came to Concordia to give a lecture.

    The Concordia University Student Association (Concordia’s undergraduate union prior to the CSU) paid Thompson $7,000 to give a two-hour speech.

    The exclusive interview with Thompson by Link staffer Dwayne Perreault is by far one of the most famous articles in The Link ’s history, and has somewhat of a cult status here in the office.

    The interview didn’t happen as Perreault imagined it would, which in retrospect should have been expected.

    After greeting him at the airport, Perreault, Thompson and a few people from CUSA went to Thompson’s hotel where they where they indulged in a cocktail of illicit substances.

    “George [the driver] was obviously bored, and began passing out mushrooms,” wrote Perreault. “Again, Thompson protested that he was under deadline, and again he accepted the drug. I thought I should too, since everyone else was.”

    He was scheduled to interview Thompson the next day, a few hours before the public lecture.

    It almost didn’t happen.

    “I knocked on the door, then heard a shout and a large thump on the other side of the door,” wrote Perreault. “I found out later that Thompson had thrown a very large diving knife at me. Obviously, he did not feel like doing the interview.”

    Twenty-eight years later, we began to wonder where Perreault had gone since his time spent at The Link. Did he still remember the details of interview?

    A few Internet searches didn’t yield much in terms of results beside the Twitter profile of a wine seller in the Netherlands.

    As unlikely as it might seem, this was Perreault.

    After his time at The Link —a time when he was already disenchanted with the state of the mainstream media—he decided not to pursue a career in journalism. He travelled the world, then moved permanently to Amsterdam.

    “I thought I would fly to Amsterdam because I was running out of money, I would buy a bicycle and cycle to the south of France and pick grapes,” said Perreault in a recent interview.

    “It never happened because after 10 days I met my girlfriend,” he said. “End of the story, I’m still here 21 years later.”

    Today he works as a wine appraiser, setting the price of vintage wine and occasionally writing about it.

    One problem still remained: how to get to Perreault? Student newspapers don’t typically have the budget to ship a reporter 5,000 kilometres away, even by boat.

    Through friends of friends, we finally found Niels Tuijtel, a Dutch broadcast journalist who accepted to do the interview for The Link.

    The story behind the story is sometimes more interesting than the original story itself.

  • Anti-Police Brutality

    The annual Anti-Police Brutality march has been an institution for the past 17 years. Here’s a look back at notable events from past demonstrations:

    • 2002

    One of the first times the Service de police de la Ville de Montréal employs the “kettle” tactic—sealing off an entire street block to mass-arrest protesters, trapping 371 people.

    • 2006

    The demo is marked by the appearance of the Pink Bloc.

    “A group of protesters representing the Pink Bloc group–queers against police brutality–were clad in strap-on dildos and pink outfits.

    “Queers are harassed by police, and it’s because of homophobia and institutional violence,” member Leah Newbold told The Link at the time.

    Thirty people were arrested.

    • 2007

    Fifteen people are arrested. The SPVM mediation team–often seen at demos in the last month to communicate between police and protesters—is working with the police at the time.

    • 2008

    McDonald’s gets a makeover and former The Link editor Darmon Van Der Linde gets arrested as the SPVM kettle 20 protesters.

    • 2009

    The SPVM kettles 150 protesters including two The Link editors.

    Both are identified as media, but the SPVM don’t seem interested in releasing them.

    “The media officer checked our credentials out and laughed at us, saying “everyone wants to be a member of the press when they get caught,” wrote The Link ’s reporter on the scene.

    • 2010

    The SPVM arrests more than 120 people including two The Link photographers.

    Numerous undercover police officers infiltrated the demonstrated and made targeted arrests, more or less successfully.

    • 2011

    258 protesters are arrested after the SPVM decides to kettle protesters on St Denis St. for several hours.

    For the fourth year in a row, a The Link reporter is arrested and ticketed. Features Editor at the time Adam Kovac recounts his experience getting kettled and arrested in the following issue.

    • 2012

    The Link sends a number of reporters and photographers into the demo to cover it live, as over 1,000 protesters fill downtown Montreal. Things get violent quickly, and what ensues is a few hours of vandalism, looting, mass arrests and an overturned police cruiser.

    Taking place in the middle of a massive student protest against tuition hikes, both the cover and editorial made the it clear that the violence and destruction of the Anti-Police Brutality demo was not a student protest.

    This video remains the most viewed on The Link ‘s YouTube channel. Two hundred and twenty-six were arrested.

  • The 10 Link Covers You Need to See

    In its 33 years of existence, The Link has accumulated an impressive amount of archives. Provocative, historical, timely or just funny, here are 10 memorable covers from The Link and The Georgian (The Link ’s ancestor).

    • The 1967 Occupation (above)

    In 1967, students at Sir George Williams University (which later became Concordia) occupy the Hall Building during an overnight sleep-in aimed at putting pressure on the university to negotiate the bookstore’s pricing policy.

    • “The Black Georgian”

    During the 1969 Computer Riot crisis at Sir George Williams, students protest the administration’s lack of response after several West Indian students accuse a professor of racist grading policies.

    During this tense period, The Georgian lets the Black Students’ Association publish an issue to express their complaints. The issue, named the “Black Georgian” for its all-black cover, is seized by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police due to libellous content. To our knowledge, all copies are destroyed. Forty years later, The Link revisits the issue.

    • The Birth of The Link

    Volume 1, Issue 1. The Link prints its first-ever issue after The Georgian and The Loyola News agree to merge, becoming Concordia’s first independent student newspaper.

    • Nuclear Disarmament

    The Link publishes a special issue calling for nuclear disarmament. Yes, we were hippies. Yes, we were that cool.

    • A Classic

    “Tintin and the Midterm Exams” is a pretty unique cover. It’s a great parody of the famous Belgian comic-book hero, even though it doesn’t have much to do with the issue’s actual content. But you know, we all know the feeling of going through midterms: it’s exactly like being chased by a pterodactyl.

    • “Expo 86: Countdown to the World’s Unfair”

    A Time magazine parody, a pun on the 1986 Vancouver World Exhibition and a cover that actually reflects on the content of the issue. What more can you ask for?

    • The Y2K Bug Issue (Or How to Test the University’s Sense of Humour)

    For the first issue of 2000, The Link prints an issue warning students that the Y2K bug erased their Fall 1999 semester grades and that they won’t get their credits. Many people don’t get the joke, and the university is overwhelmed with complaints from worried students.

    The following issue, the university registrar publishes a letter in The Link saying she is “both amazed and horrified by the front page of this issue.”

    “It is not humorous, it is irresponsible,” she writes. I can only imagine the editors’ reactions while reading the letter.

    • Fight Back

    In 2001, students upset by The Link ’s coverage of the Israel-Palestine conflict start to circulate a petition trying to shut down The Link. Thankfully, they fail.

    • Special Joint Issue for the Summit of the Americas

    In an unprecedented move (and never performed again since), six Canadian student newspapers— The Link, The McGill Daily, Le Délit français, Le Collectif, Quartier Libre, Montréal Campus, Impact Campus and La Rotonde —join forces to print a bilingual special issue about the 2001 Summit of the Americas, held in Quebec City.

    • Student Apathy

    This cover tackles an issue older than this university: student apathy. While we’re still searching for the magic solution that will turn 90 per cent of Concordia students—that is, approximately the number of students who don’t vote in student union elections—from a zombified state into informed students, this cover is quite, well, memorable.

  • VIDEO: The First Queer Issue

    The Link ‘s first Queer Issue in 1982 ignited a storm of controversy, and has become a yearly tradition ever since.

    Thirty-one years ago, The Link decided to publish its first-ever “Gay Issue” on Valentine’s Day.

    Following publication, angry students removed 5,000 copies from the stands, and editors and staff writers were threatened with violence and rape.

    Despite the reaction, it set a precedent for The Link —for 31 years, the paper’s editors have annually dedicated a special issue to covering LGBTQ-related topics.

    We interviewed Karen Herland, who wrote for the issue, about the atmosphere at the time and what she thinks about the situation today.

  • The 1986 Tuition Freeze

    On April 17, 1986, The Link published a special “Crisis Issue“—named as such because we didn’t usually have a print issue in April—reporting on a disguised tuition hike announced by the Concordia administration.

    The editorial read:

    “Special issues have been published in ’84, ’85 and now ’86 because somehow the administration always makes major announcements—pretty much out of the blue—in the second or third week of April […] This year it’s an increase in tuition camouflaged with the ‘academic excellence’ moniker (and at Concordia you know that’s a smokescreen).

    “A major decision like a 33 per cent tuition increase is supposed to be discussed, not just announced from on high […] When they decide, you’ll get a bill. And you’ll probably keep getting SPECIAL CRISIS issues of The Link. Shrug.”

    A few months before the announcement, the Liberal government cut $15.5 million from Quebec universities’ operating budgets.

    As a result, universities implemented other fees to sustain their expenses. At McGill it was a “photocopy fee” of $100.

    At Concordia, the cuts amounted to $2.8 million. The “academic excellence fee” was then put forward—to the tune of $84 per student.

    While advocating a tuition freeze, the Quebec government approved the fee, allowing universities to charge up to $100 per student for course materials.

    Speaking in front of the National Assembly’s education committee in September 1986, Patrick Kenniff, Concordia’s Rector at the time, complained about the university’s lack of funding.

    “We have the honor of being the only university in Canada, I believe, that has to suspend its library shelves from the ceiling of the building because the floors won’t take the weight,” Kenniff said.

    “It’s often said that if all our professors and students brought back their books at the same time, the building would collapse.”

    Quebec universities were also struggling with significant debt: in 1986, it amounted to $80 million.

    ‘‘All the fat is gone,’‘ Lucie Beauchemin, an adviser to the rector of Concordia University told The Globe and Mail at the time.

    ‘‘Now we’re dealing with skin and bones.’‘