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Blackface and Christmas: Black activism challenges racist tradition in the Netherlands

Photo: WNV/Bryan van Hulst

Friday December 6 marked the closure of the annual celebration of Sinterklaas, the Dutch equivalent of Santa Claus. Traditionally, the children’s festivity is an occasion for family fun and pleasure that unites a nation, but this year it has become a highly charged political battleground that is exposing a society increasingly more conservative and hostile towards people of color, while unleashing an unprecedented anti-racism movement that is empowering minorities and posing fundamental challenges to the Dutch establishment.

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Who's rogue now? Canada's response to the Iran nuclear deal

Photo: flickr/Andrew Rusk

It was good enough for Obama. It was good enough for Russia, China, the U.K. and Germany. It was good enough for the European Union. In the end, it was even good enough for France. But the nuclear agreement reached between Iran and the P5+1 was not good enough for Canada.

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Who's influencing reproductive policy in Canada?

Photo: flickr/infomatique

As Canadians, we’re proud of our reputation for tolerance and fairness. Even with a socially and fiscally conservative government, we still maintain that we are the sane alternative to the extreme Tea Party doctrine so prevalent south of the border. Unfortunately, this national sense of self is more illusion than reality.

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A Duffy audit timeline: Who did what when?

Photo: Márcio Cabral de Moura/flickr

The RCMP investigation of Senator Mike Duffy generated a lot of documents. Murray Dobbin sifted through them and put together this timeline to show how we got to this point in the story.

Feb. 7 - Duffy says in a phone call with Wright that he is upset he is going to be audited. (p. 14 of RCMP documents)

Feb. 8 - Senate Standing Committee on Internal Economy contract Deloitte to review residency and related expenses of Senators Duffy, Brazeau, and Harb. Conservative Senators Tkachuk and Stewart Olsen and Liberal Senator Furey named to sub-committee to review Duffy expenses.

Feb. 20 - Wright tells Duffy he expects Deloitte will conclude his primary residence is not in PEI. (p. 28)

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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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