Victor Toews lives in a charmed world, it seems. He may have fallen afoul of the law once upon a time, but that's hardly uncommon in Stephen Harper's circle, and it didn't stop him from becoming this country's Minister of Justice.
This week, many countries are kicking off Women's Week or Women's History Month, as this year's International Women's Day quickly approaches. The Toolkit is showcasing lots of great feminist resources in honour of these events. Activist campaigns and tools have been developed to support women in our local communities, personal networks and activist circles, and around the globe. This week's tools focus on challenges in these spheres, and where to devote your activist energy in honour of International Women’s Day.
Like the Joint Review Panel’s recent whitewash of the Northern Gateway pipeline, the National Energy Board has rubber stamped Enbridge's Line 9 pipeline. Here are nine reasons to reject their 158-page decision and continue opposing Line 9.
1. Allies of the Harper government
On February 7, 2014, Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Shawn Atleo stood with Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC) Bernard Valcourt and announced a "historic deal" on First Nations education. They announced that the federal government would change the name of education legislation to First Nations Control of First Nations Education Act, together with $1.9 billion in future monies.
History teaches us the importance of remembering and celebrating International Women's Day. In the Triangle Shirtwaist fire of 1911, 146 young women suffered horrific deaths at this New York City garment factory. It took a tragedy of this magnitude for authorities to begin to consider safety regulations and fire codes, and to highlight the appalling working conditions of thousands of workers. Shocking as the carnage was, the fire did not convince authorities or employers to deal with all the workplace injustices facing women -- who laboured for less pay and were more exploited than men. These sorts of conditions still exist in developing countries where manufacturers now locate to avoid improved workplace health and safety regulations and paying decent wages.
When the Ontario NDP announced their proposal to raise the minimum wage to 12 dollars an hour by 2015 many on the left became rightfully indignant. This proposal not only undercut the actual campaign for the 14 dollar minimum wage pushed by anti-poverty groups and labour, it also tied the increase to tax cuts for small business.
My mother's village in western Ukraine: Geese being herded by old babas, ox carts driven by farmers. In the fields, people tilling the soil until nightfall with shovels and hoes, no farm equipment in sight. No paved roads to be seen, let alone public transit, well-equipped schools, recreational facilities, jobs, futures.
No, not the 19th century. The 21st.
Recently, my Facebook feed lit up with angry reaction to the ONDP's refusal to support a $14 minimum wage.
The campaign for the minimum wage hike, led by labour and community organizations successfully pushed the Liberals to promise an increase to the minimum wage. The increase is slight, from $10.25 up to $11 in June, but a clear victory.
ONDP leader Andrea Horwath was pressed by journalists to respond to the campaign and the Liberal announcement. The result was an awkward exchange where she refused to take a position on it.
Parents, take note! Your search for clarity in the education debates is finally over. The Canadian Council of Chief Executives (CCCE) commissioned a report a few weeks ago that set out a fairly bleak picture of general dissatisfaction with public schools and then concluded with a series of recommendations about how to "fix" the problem.
Has there ever been a moment when the political class was so united? When, from every point on the ideological spectrum, they join in pledging allegiance? And to what? Or perhaps whom? To nothing less than the hard-working middle class, whoever they or it might be. Is Sophie concerned about Justin's swooning over this apparently irresistible body?
Needless to say, this consensus is not remotely fair. Who, after all, is looking after the interests of the filthy rich, the 1%? Tough break, plutocrats. You're on your own. Nobody cares a fig for anything but the hard-working thingamajigs, and even though the benefits they actually receive are negligible, they must be chuffed that politicians talk about nothing else.
As of Sunday, roughly 70 members and supporters of the Mohawks of Tyendinaga erected a blockade on Shannonville Road, pushing for the Canadian government to host a genuine inquiry into the disappearances and deaths of Indigenous women across Canada -- thus stating their dissatisfaction of the Oppal Inquiry.
As of reports from Sunday night, "two large fires are going across the street and vehicles are parked, blocking Shannonville Road."
The so-called war on poverty has been an abysmal failure. Poverty rates in Canada remain at stubbornly high levels. Most provinces, including Manitoba, still have about one in 10 living below acceptable low-income cut-offs.
Low-income Manitobans, like other low-income Canadians, fall back on a myriad of programs supposedly aimed at eliminating, if not reducing the impacts of poverty. A non-exhaustive list includes provincial and on-reserve social assistance, federal and provincial child tax benefit credits and supplements, GST credits, Manitoba 55+, Rent Aid and Old Age Security. Not only is there a lot of money spent on administering these programs, the overall benefit levels are inadequate, especially given the rising cost of housing.
With tip of the ushanka to Andrei Amalrik, we have to ask: Can the Redford Government survive until 2016?
A week is a long time in politics, of course, and a lot can happen between now and the next election to save Alberta Premier Alison Redford's political bacon once again, but, gee whiz, the signs sure don't look promising right now! Some days it doesn't even sound like a sure thing the government can hang in till then.
The spring of 2016, of course, is the time Redford chose for her silly "fixed election period" law, which must have seemed like a good idea in 2011 when the Legislature passed it. Now, maybe not so much.
These past weeks have held plentiful reminders of the horrendous things we do to each other as people and societies. In the face of large darknesses, we often for get that ignorance and intolerance are bred and cultivated in much smaller arenas long before they grow into mass malignancy. I myself have found it difficult to find anything to write about of late, and I am one of the most pragmatically action-oriented people I know.
Harper's strategy shift in the Middle East
Mar 7 2014
Observing the socio-political spheres of the Middle East these days, you'll probably hear "Canadians have become more Americanized than Americans!" ... from independent journalists and activists.
On the Detention of Trans People
Mar 7 2014
Treatment of trans people (particularly trans women) in detention facilities has come under examination recently. There's a solution, it's just a question of whether there is the will to examine it.
Bob Rennie’s $25,000 lunch: Why Vancouver is unaffordable
Mar 7 2014
Daniel Tseghay, Maria Wallstam, Nathan Crompton, Sean Antrim, Tristan Markle
Vancouver is the most unaffordable city in North America. How does the real-estate influence the municipal and provincial government to keep housing prices high?
Québec-Canada: Le poids de l’histoire
Mar 6 2014
With the People's Social Forum set to take place in Ottawa in August, Pierre Beaudet reminds us to take stock of the history between First Nations, Quebec, and Canada. This article is in French only.
TransCanada files pre-application for Energy East pipeline
Mar 6 2014
Timed a little earlier than expected, TransCanada has filed its pre-application for the Energy East pipeline. Here is a preliminary analysis of this pre-application, highlighting some key items.