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Guest in a stolen house: On immigration, colonialism and Canada

Photo: flickr/vtgard

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I am a guest in a stolen house. I can sympathize with the victims, because a long time ago, my house was the scene of a crime as well.

Indigenous people in North America (and for that matter, Oceania) have suffered an unprecedented amount of discrimination, violence, silencing and long-reaching emotional and psychological damage. This violence has continually been denied by the white majority and protest has been stifled by governments and civilians alike.

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Connecting Palestinian and Indigenous peoples' struggles for freedom

Photo: flickr/Luciano

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Boarded, arrested, impounded, sabotaged and finally shelled from the sea -- the Canadian Boat to Gaza and Gaza's Ark have not given up. Amid the hot-war conflicts today, peace activists are still at work, bringing attention to people who seek liberty and self-determination.

In the Spring of 2015, Freedom Flotilla III will sail, again.

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Alberta needs a low-carbon plan

Photo: flickr/Howl Arts Collective

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As Alberta's economic engine falters, now is a good time to rethink the province putting all its eggs in bitumen's basket.

When their crops failed, Alberta's farmers had the pluck to persevere. There's always next year. That resilience in the face of adversity served them well. But a next-year-country optimism is misplaced when applied to Alberta's unconventional oil. 

Sure the world oil price will eventually bounce back and might lead to another oil boom. But should or can Alberta go down that undulating road again? 

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Why are we afraid of naming and confronting capitalism?

Photo: flickr/OTA Photos

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"The ideological deficiency, not to say the total lack of ideology, within the national liberation movements -- which is basically due to ignorance of the historical reality which these movements claim to transform -- constitutes one of the greatest weaknesses of our struggle against imperialism, if not the greatest weakness of all."[1] - Amilcar Cabral

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Harper's cuts to postal service are bad election strategy

Photo: flickr/Sharon Drummond

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In the future, when people ask where Stephen Harper went wrong, the pundits will say that he messed with the postal service.

This might be the place where a union rep such as myself would do some chest-thumping about the militant history of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW). I could talk about the other Prime Ministers who took on the postal workers and lost. I could talk about the fight for maternity leave, or jailed union leaders... But it is not simply CUPW that is hitting back against Harper.

And that is the point.

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Should Canada stockpile oil while prices are low?

Photo: flickr/jasonwoodhead23

While oil is cheap, China is cannily buying up to 700,000 barrels of oil a day to boost its emergency oil reserves.

Ensuring energy security can make governments money. The U.S. Treasury has netted $22 billion by selling oil from its giant strategic petroleum reserves (SPRs) when oil prices were high and filling them when prices were low.

China is joining most rich countries in stocking SPRs because it knows Saudi Arabia is driving down oil prices to stall output of high-cost, non-OPEC oil, including U.S. shale oil.

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Employment insurance and Harper's flexibility fanaticism

Photo: flickr/Stephen Harper

As oil prices drop, rumours in the Maritimes are on the rise: the region's migrant workers, who send money home from their jobs "out west," might be coming home for good.

In 2012, the Conservative government made deep cuts to the employment insurance (EI) program. The cuts were meant to encourage workers in high unemployment regions to relocate to low unemployment regions, like Alberta. Now, having heeded the call for mobility, workers will return home to stubbornly high unemployment rates and a hollowed-out EI program.

Welcome to Harper's flexibility fanaticism.

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Death of a Princess revisited

Antony Thomas. Photo: Kempton/flickr

Last week, very wisely, the New York premiere of the film The Interview was cancelled. This week, Sony Pictures cancelled the release of the film, then changed its mind and announced it will release it on Christmas Day.

Am I the only one to find an air of déjà vu in the North Korean-The Interview affair? Has everyone forgotten, or are they too young to remember, that in 1980, the British film Death of a Princess, by Antony Thomas and Gladys Ganley, provoked similar responses on the part of Saudi Arabia?

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UP! Empowering communities from the bottom up

Image: rabble.ca

The September 2014 New Brunswick election was not just an election. It was a referendum on shale gas and unconventional hydraulic fracking. 

The Conservative party tried to convince voters that the development of shale gas is New Brunswick's only hope to create jobs and stop the exodus of young workers out west. But, most voters did not buy into this narrow one-sided view. Citizens elected a Liberal majority government on the promise of an immediate moratorium on fracking and David Coon, leader of the Green Party, became the first elected Green MLA in Canadian history. 

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Harper et Couillard: un cocktail dangereux pour le Québec

Photo: CSN/refusons.org  Raynald Leblanc

Au bout du compte, le Québec est indiscutablement une composante essentielle de cette grande Confédération canadienne. Personne n'en doutera, bien sûr, d'autant que ces jours-ci, la question nationale n'est pas vraiment au cœur des discussions dans les chaumières.

Mais à voir les efforts déployés par le tandem Harper-Couillard pour faire transiter le pétrole sale des sables bitumineux de l'Ouest par le Québec, il est à se demander si nous ne renouons pas avec l'origine de la fondation du Canada, alors que la construction du chemin de fer avait relié toutes les colonies britanniques, pour le plus grand bien des capitalistes anglais.

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