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Quebec's Maple Spring shows grassroots movements can force social and environmental change

Photo: ForgetTheBox.net

Usually it takes social movements years, even decades, to significantly affect public policy. The movement unleashed by Quebec students last spring has had a much quicker impact.

Beyond politicizing a generation, it has spurred a more socially and ecologically progressive political climate. It is within this context that Pauline Marois' government has adopted more progressive reforms in its first days in office than any other provincial government in recent Canadian history. 

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Dear Ontario teachers: Don't let McGuinty get away with this

I know you're angry right now. You should be. That your bargaining process has been interrupted by the reprehensible actions of the Liberals and Progressive Conservatives in Ontario should outrage you and all Ontarians who support you.

I want to acknowledge your pain. Having never had a student wet himself beside me, having never had to separate a fight where girls' hair is strewn across the floor, having never had to explain why the Merchant of Venice doesn't suck, having never had to stop myself from swearing for more than a few days at a time ... I know that what you do I could never do. What you do, most people can't do. Even with the shitty teachers lumped in, the service you give to the community deserves to be acknowledged, honoured and celebrated.

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Racism and violence, past and present: Understanding the Wisconsin shooting

Yesterday morning the orgies of the lone gunman took hold in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, a town in the dragnet of Milwaukee. He targeted a Gurdwara, the religious home of the local Sikh community. The gunman entered the Gurdwara, and as if in mimicry of the school shootings, stalked the worshippers in the halls of the 17,000 square foot "Sikh Temple of Wisconsin."

Police engaged the gunman, who wounded at least one officer. The gunman killed at least seven Sikhs, wounding many more. He was then killed. A few hours after the shooting Ven Boba Ri, a committee member of the Gurdwara told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, "It's pretty much a hate crime. It's not an insider."

The local police smartly said that this is an act of domestic terrorism.

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Unions are key to fighting inequity for all workers

The people who have been occupying financial districts in Canadian and American cities are motivated by anger over the glaring economic unfairness that exists in our society. The labour movement welcomes what these young people camping outdoors in tents are saying -- because we have said the very same thing for many years.

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International Stop the Tar Sands Day: A guide to the disaster

Photo: Evolve Love/Velcrow Ripper

For many Canadians, the image of the oil sands as a boost to the economy, providing a bounty of jobs and ensuring a continuing supply of fossil fuel, overshadows anything they may hear about its environmental and human impacts.

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Looking into the crystal ball: 2011 predictions from the CCPA

Happy new year rabble readers! As we round out another decade, thoughts turn to the future, and our partners at the The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives have weighed in on the issues facing Canada in the years ahead. They flag the economy, social unrest, drift, democracy, dirty oil and corporate Canada as things to watch in 2011 and beyond.

Hugh Mackenzie, CCPA Research Associate

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The Ontario ombudsman's G20 report confirms the denial of our civil liberties

Liberty Lost (G20, Toronto). Photo montage by Carole Conde and Karl Beveridge.

Vindication.

That's what the Ontario ombudsman's Andre Marin's report sounds like to me.

As a peaceful protester during the G20 demonstrations, I saw and experienced Toronto as a police state where the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms no longer applied. While the mainstream media couldn't tear the cameras away from burning cruisers, police officers were conducting illegal searches, used excessive force and the provincial government quietly withdrew our rights.

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Lukewarm feds finally sign UN declaration for indigenous peoples

The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples has been adopted by the Canadian government, and First Nations people are waiting to see some progress.

I don't think we should hold our breath.

The indication is that the government adopted the declaration under duress and hopes it will just go away. It most likely will fall into the black hole, like all the other studies and expressions of goodwill in the past.

The announcement came on Nov. 12, when everyone was either taking a holiday or getting ready for the weekend. In Ottawa, Friday afternoon is the time to make unpopular or troublesome announcements. For instance, this is when the prime minister customarily announces Senate appointments.

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Canada and the next world financial crisis

How will the next financial crisis erupt? (Or perhaps we should describe it as a further chapter of the ongoing financial crisis.) It's like figuring out which piece of tinder will ignite after a sizzling heat wave. We know it's bad out there, but just where will the next spark hit? What follows is one of many- potential financial crisis scenarios that Canada could face.

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The benefits of Portland Hotel Society's programs at risk

Photo: flickr/Jen Gibson

Recently, Rich Coleman, the B.C. Minister Responsible for Housing, made vague announcements to media regarding whether not some programs such as social enterprises led by Portland Hotel Society (PHS) community services would continue. It was also stated that decisions will eventually be made about all of the PHS operations.

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