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in her own words

Food security: Why hunger is a farm issue

A nation that cannot feed itself is a nation that is inherently food insecure. Welcome to Canada, 21st Century.


State of the Union 2012: The missing peace in Obama's speech

For Americans and a huge chunk of non-Americans who (sometimes unwillingly) are affected by U.S. policy and rhetoric, the annual State of the Union (SOTU) address makes for must-watch TV.

Oh, except for that one time in 2010 when an episode of Lost was nearly delayed thanks to competing airtime, leading many to question whether the president was even aware of this pending catastrophe. Very kindly, the White House assured America's citizenry that President Obama would "not pre-empt the premier of the show's final season."


Attawapiskat: Firing back at the racist rants and ignorant responses with facts

I still intend to get a series of posts out clarifying issues like First Nations housing, health care, education and so on, but I have a confession. I haven't been staying away from the comments sections of articles about Attawapiskat.

I know. It's not healthy. There are so many racist rants and outright ignorant responses that it can bog you down. Where do you even begin, when the people making these comments do not seem to understand even the bare minimum about the subject?

Well, I try to answer questions with facts. Here are some of those facts, if you're interested.


Out of the parks, into our lives: Move beyond Occupy

Shortly after the Occupy Movement began to make headlines, my friend and comrade Dr. J wrote this on his blog your heart's on the left:

Is occupation a tactic or a principle? Should the focus be on the internal procedures of those actively occupying, or outreach to broader communities and struggles? How do we build a movement of the 99%?


Time to cooperate: A modest proposal for a progressive alliance on electoral reform

The two contests for the federal leadership, the NDP -- already started -- and the Liberal -- on hold -- give an opportunity to think political realignment in Canada.

These leadership races could be an opportunity for serious debate about proportional representation, to give every person an equal vote, and climate change, the most urgent issue humankind faces, and one where the majority in Parliament is at odds with the majority of Canadians.


Why the B.C. Missing Women's Commission of Inquiry fails

Over 200 women blocked traffic and called for a 'new fair, just, and inclusive inquiry that centres the voices and experiences and leadership of women, particularly Indigenous women, in the DTES.' Photo: Courtesy of Union of BC Indian Chiefs

The very same grassroots community of women who have been advocating for a public inquiry into the deaths and disappearances of women in the Downtown Eastside for over two decades are now denouncing the B.C. Missing Women's Commission of Inquiry as an insult to the women of this Vancouver community.


Getting the Muslim youth vote out in Ontario

Wali Farah, running for the NDP in Ottawa-South, was one of the provincial election candidates called in to speak to Muslim youth in Ottawa.

Concerns have been raised about the lack of political engagement of Canadian youth. During the federal election, voting flash mobs at Canadian universities were seen as a way to get young voters excited and eager to vote.

Unfortunately, most efforts to engage youth have been initiated by groups and organizations that I feel do not reflect the ethno-cultural diversity of Canada's major cities. As an activist in Ottawa's Muslim communities who is passionate about civic engagement, I wanted to take a lead in addressing what I've seen as a lack of engagement among young Muslims of voting age.


Layton's state funeral could backfire on Harper

Prime Minister Stephen Harper's decision to give the late NDP leader Jack Layton a state funeral can be parsed two ways: a noble gesture or a Machiavellian political manoeuvre to further marginalize his original foe, the leaderless, languishing Liberals.

But no one, least of all Harper himself, could have predicted Canadians' week-long outpouring of emotion. Was it a fleeting historical moment? Or something more profound? If the former, political normalcy will return with the opening of Parliament Sept. 21. If the latter, the state funeral could turn out to be Harper's biggest political mistake yet.


Mourning the passing of Wendy Babcock

While I don't always miss TO, there is nowhere I would rather be at this moment. My friend, Wendy Babcock, was found dead at her home on Aug. 9; an apparent suicide. Wendy's loss hurts; all death does but this is the second suicide in my circle in the past 13 months. My ex-wife Tricia killed herself last July. Suicide, post-Katrina is New Orleans; most people I have met know one or more people who have taken their own life.

In November 2009, CBC profiled Wendy on the show Connect with Mark Kelley. View the video here.


Women's World 2011: A workspace of reform and dialogue for the world

The thank you panel, Women's Worlds 2011. Photo: Elizabeth Littlejohn

"I know why it is called grassroots... since I began to garden, I know that when you pull up the roots, if a small piece remains, more grass will grow."

- b!wilder, spoken word artist

Nearly 2,000 international delegates, grassroots activists, academics, and policymakers congregated for the 30th anniversary of the Women's World Congress in Ottawa from July 4 to 7. With plenaries translated simultaneously into English, French, Spanish and American Sign Language, each day's sessions were based upon the themes Breaking Cycles, Breaking Ceilings, Breaking Barriers and Breaking Ground, under the broader theme: "Inclusions, exclusions and seclusions: Living in a globalized world."


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