There are things to be grateful for about CBC's documentary The F-Word: Who Wants to Be a Feminist?, aired last Thursday, March 3.
After two years of stimulus spending and years of tax cuts, Canada's debt has ballooned to $56 billion. Now the Harper government is sharpening the axe. Who will feel the cut? Given the Conservative's position on social spending, they will likely focus on provincial transfers that support healthcare and social welfare.
Meanwhile, the federal government subsidizes oil companies to the tune of $1.4 billion every year, according to the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD). It's more if you factor in other fossil fuels such as coal. If the government is looking for ways to pay down the debt, ending fossil fuel subsidies in the 2011-12 budget is a good place to start.
A couple of years ago I read a fabulous book by James Scott called Seeing like a State. Rather than portraying an in-depth look at the unique complexities of one failed (or floundering) state, he took a refreshingly more contextualized approach.
By widening his gaze and looking at the commonalities across the globe and over time, Scott makes some similarities among them embarrassingly apparent. In doing so, he suggests that the failures which have been historically noted as disastrous examples of poor decision making are anything but exceptional.
Stephen Harper's reaffirmation of his tough-on-crime agenda on Sunday, Jan. 23, the fifth anniversary of his gaining power, came at an odd time. Just days before, uber-conservative American Newt Gingrich had publicly denounced the lock 'em up approach.
In a Washington Post article, entitled, Prison Reform: A smart way for states to save money and lives, Gingrich and co-writer Pat Nolan stated: "There is an urgent need to address the astronomical growth in the prison population, with its huge costs in dollars and lost human potential."
From an Egyptian-Canadian student: "My mother, Mariam, is a medical doctor in Egypt. She was in Tahrir today -- Thursday, Feb. 3 -- treating people who had been wounded in yesterday's vicious attacks. She wanted me to share this information with as many people as possible."
"Despite what happened yesterday, the mood in Tahrir is still uplifting and encouraging. These people were attacked yesterday by paid thugs bearing ‘white weapons' (knives, daggers, swords). Against these attacks, they defended themselves with only their bare hands and literally the ground beneath their feet -- pulling up the pavement to throw at their attackers.
The second annual North American Anarchist Studies Network (NAASN) Conference was held in Toronto at the Steelworkers Hall on January 15 and 16.
The conference was a chance for anarchists or activists interested in anarchism to meet post-G20, with opportunities for sharing wisdom and education taking place between new and old anarchists, including those radicalized at last June's summit. It was a non-violent, private event.
But the police, riding on a post-G20 high, showed up by the dozen, with some officers not revealing themselves right away, but clearly knowing the event was happening and monitoring it. So goes activism and organizing in a post-G20 world.
On Friday afternoon, starting around 2 p.m., 175 people gathered in front of the Egyptian consulate in Montreal to show their solidarity with the Egyptian protesters who have been calling since Tuesday for the end of Hosni Mubarak's regime.
Montreal supporters chanted for three hours in French, Arabic, and English, calling for an end to rampant poverty, police brutality, torture, corruption, economic stagnation, and dictatorship. "The youth want liberty and dignity!" they cried. "Down with Mubarak and all dictators!" Their signs and banners showed solidarity with the Tunisian movement that was seen to have sparked the protests in Egypt.
This weekend marked the five-year anniversary of the ascent to power of Canada's exceptionally charismatic (cough*cough) and calculating Conservative PM Stephen Harper. It's surprising that Stephen Harper has lasted so long in a minority government, but for a minority PM, he sure has accomplished a lot -- if by accomplishments, one is referring to the insidious erosion of women's rights that has occurred in the last five years. Let's take a look back at what Harper has done to increase gender inequality, shall we?
Scrap universal daycare
This month, the Hudson Bay Company (HBC) have discontinued sales of Ahava cosmetic products. Ahava is an Israeli company that has been a target of the Palestinian campaign for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel.
HBC was the main retailer in Canada that carries Ahava's line, and has been targeted by a number of Palestine solidarity group over the past 18 months. Many participated in the campaign across the country, including Tadamon in Montreal, the Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid in Toronto, with Canadians for Peace and Justice in the Middle East being the latest group to join in.