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Harper government's extensive spying on anti-oil sands groups revealed in FOIs

Photo: flickr/chrisyakimov

The federal government has been vigorously spying on anti-oil sands activists and organizations in B.C. and across Canada since last December, documents obtained under the Access to Information Act show. 

Not only is the federal government subsidizing the energy industry in underwriting their costs, but deploying public safety resources as a de-facto "insurance policy" to ensure that federal strategies on proposed pipeline projects are achieved, these documents indicate.

Before the National Energy Board's Joint Review Panel hearings on the proposed Enbridge oil pipeline, the NEB coordinated the gathering of intelligence on opponents to the oil sands.

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Secret evidence plays growing role in Canada’s immigration courts

Photo: flickr/Takver

Gossip and rumour based on secret intelligence sources may be all that is needed to deport a foreign national from Canada on national security grounds, legal experts say. 

Secret evidence has been used "in a whole range of immigration procedures," such as applications for permanent residence or citizenship in Canada, "which do not involve actual hearings but are simply administrative procedures," says Sharryn Aiken, a Queen’s University law professor and immigration and refugee expert.

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Culture not prison: Seeking to provide an urban healing lodge for incarcerated Indigenous women

photo: flickr/my_new_wintercoat

Prisoner rehabilitation: it’s often referred to as a system set up to fail. Only it seems to fail so much more than others.

An ongoing issue that’s only growing, Indigenous women are filling up Canada’s prisons. But once released, many of these women are left to face a harsh reality.

"Basically, they’re dropped off in Toronto and there’s no real transition," says Patti Pettigrew, a caseworker at Aboriginal Legal Services (ALS), an agency serving the city’s Indigenous community. "It’s not addressing their needs, so they find themselves re-offending."

Pettigrew has seen a high number of Indigenous women end up in Toronto after serving their sentences. Most come from the Grand Valley Institution for Women, a federal prison based in Kitchener, Ontario.

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Alternative movements: The revolution will not be (Russell) Brand-ed

Photo: flickr/RamyRaoof

Over the past couple of weeks, actor and comedian Russell Brand has been praised by several blogs and social media users for his viral video and last week’s New Statesman manifesto calling for revolution.

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Export Development Canada: How billions are transferred to Enbridge and TransCanada without substantive disclosure

photo: flickr/chrisyakimov

The Enbridge Line 9 hearings are in process this week in Toronto. In Ontario, the reversal of that pipeline, to transport fuel from Western Canada eastward rather than refined fuel from Eastern Canada westward, has sparked public concerns.

These centre upon the risks that arise from moving corrosive diluted bitumen -- as opposed to refined products -- through populated areas, as well as the proposed 25 per cent capacity increase of the pipeline from 240,000 to 300,000 barrels per day.

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The government shutdown: is this really an anarchist dream?

Image: flickr/Kashfi Halford

In his complaints against the wing of the Republican Party that engineered the present government shutdown, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid derided his opponents as "Tea Party anarchists."

It’s hard to decide who should be more annoyed -- the Tea Party or the anarchists.

In any case, Reid’s remark is revealing of how the long tradition of anarchist philosophy has been thrown under the bus of U.S. political discourse, then rolled over, then dragged along in mangled form so as to be pointed at when doing so seems expedient.

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Re-exploring activist burnout: Finding common ground and breaking the silence

It's been almost a year and a half since I last touched on activist burnout, specifically in the youth demographic.

In that time I've been fortunate to have my perspective expand and evolve, thanks to an abundance of, often late night, conversations with close friends. Finding common ground in burnout experience makes it easier to break that silence.

For the past while, my focus has been on community building.

What does that mean? What is a progressive community composed of? How does one use an intersectional approach in community and selfcare?

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Canada's address to the UN by John Baird, Minister of (truth is) Foreign Affairs

Photo: DFATD | MAECD/flickr

On the last day of September, John Baird delivered Canada's address to the opening session of the United Nations General Assembly. Though the speech had much to say that was admirable about violence against women, when it came to violence against Syria and Iran, the speech traded in unverified assumptions, omissions and deception.

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Solidarity Halifax: Statement on the Nova Scotia provincial election, voting and organizing

Image: Solidarity Halifax

1. As members of Solidarity Halifax we believe another world is possible. Capitalism is not the best humanity can do.

2. We believe that deep, meaningful change in our society can only come from below through collective action of masses of people. Change cannot come from on high by a queen, politician or bureaucrat.

3. This kind of change, eliminating capitalism, will never come as a result of an election to the provincial legislature. It can only happen when the working classes, the marginalized, the 99 per cent, take power and control of our lives, our workplaces, and our communities from the ruling class, the 1 per cent.

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Omar Khadr in Court: Eight ways the mainstream media missed the real story

Omar Khadr's first appearance before the Canadian public last week sparked considerable interest. In the Edmonton courtroom his lawyer, Dennis Edney, presented legal arguments why Omar should be released from the maximum-security institution where he is currently detained. Over one hundred supporters were present and at least a dozen reporters witnessed the day's events.

In the resulting press coverage several images were repeated and the reporting largely consistent. What most reporters didn't mention is the real story of Omar Khadr.

1. Omar glanced around the courtroom...

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