Alice Klein

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Alice Klein is the co-founder, editor and CEO of Toronto's longest-running free alternative newsweekly, NOW Magazine and NOW Communications Inc. Her regular rabble column appears courtesy of NOW Magazine.
Columnists

NOW Magazine will stand with sex workers against discrimination

Photo: LexnGer/flickr

NOW supports its feisty independent journalism by selling advertising. It has run ads for sexual services throughout its history, because as a publication that stands for human rights and free expression, NOW has refused to discriminate against sex work and sex workers while allowing advertising from other less stigmatized businesses.

We are mindful of the fact that advertising benefits independent sex workers in particular, as it offers a much safer and more secure way to connect and do business with clients. For many, the alternative to access to advertising is street-based prostitution.

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Voter turnout delivers real people's verdict in Toronto election

Photo: postbear/flickr

I support voting for the most politically experienced and best representative of our diverse and aspirationally inclusive city, the daring one who is explicitly caring, the unapologetic policy wonk and artist, the bicycle pedaller and community convener, the youthful grandmother warrior, Olivia Chow.

But I think we need to realize that there's something even more important in this race than whether Chow or John Tory is elected the next mayor. It is us.

The main and most important thing about this election is getting your ass out to a polling station and voting.

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Are johns the new 'fags' because of Bill C-36?

Photo: flickr/Karen Stintz

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Sexual shaming is on the prowl, not just somewhere far away but, sadly, right here, right now. And it is state-sponsored. 

I'm talking Bill C-36, officially called the Protection Of Communities And Exploited Persons Act. This is Harper-speak for "Of course I will devilishly manipulate sexual anxiety, primarily female, to get my next majority." Sacrificing the lives of sex workers on that unholy ground? Not a problem.

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Voting pro-social in the Ontario election

Photo: Sharon Drummond/flickr

I'm talking to you, fellow lovers, sharers and carers: where are we going with this Ontario election?

You know who you are, but for accuracy's sake, here's a checklist. Whether you're an NDPer, a Liberal, a Green or somewhere in between, you understand these are dangerous times. 

First off, it isn't news to you that violence and repression are raging around the globe. You get that part of the reason is because inequality and corporate empowerment, both here and globally, are crazily off-kilter. Same for the fact that humans have destabilized the earth's climate and that life-forms on the planet are pretty much in a death spiral.

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A dark force unleashed: How Rob Ford has demonized Canadian democracy

Photo: Andrew Louis/flickr

Folks, I'm warning you, there's a new threat looming at City Hall. 

Listen up to all the solemn talk about rehab and Rob dealing with his "problem." Is this scandalous situation really about something as ordinary as addiction and its redemption? No way. That's just another pernicious new storyline that simply doesn't fit the crime. 

I understand why the chorus of experts witnessing the Ford affair latch on to the familiar substance abuse drama. It's so clearly a major player in the cast of insidious characters now on the city stage. Of course Rob Ford is dangerous both to himself and others. But rehab doesn't cut it as an endgame. Even forcing him to step down doesn't do justice to the situation at hand.

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Learning from Thich Nhat Hanh, living legend of non-violence

Photo: ghknsg548/flickr

True love and happiness? Is that a fairy tale? Not according to fearless 86-year-old social activist monk and Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh (pronunced "tik nyat hawn"), who's sitting serenely cross-legged onstage. 

I'm about to get some very simple how-to advice, but right now I'm not happy. I'm tired, and frankly, some family drama just erupted and has taken over my brain. Of course it happened right before this Brock University retreat with Nhat Hanh that preceded his Toronto talk last weekend. 

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No time for an Ontario election: NDP and Liberals should work together on progressive policy

Photo: Patrick Imbeau/flickr

This is crunch time for the NDP. Here is the question a lot of progressive people like me are asking: Is Andrea Horwath just another wind-up politician or is she an actual leader?

Because the same-old, same-old populist posturing that's going on right now makes it look like she thinks it's all business as usual, which it is not.

We all do understand that she and the party are in a quandary. But this budget is unfolding in a dangerous context that forces us to expand the frame of this conversation and get real.

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Environmental movements and economies bring hope, inspiration this Earth Week

Photo: Jyotirmoy Basu/Flickr

Okay, it's true -- we are actually living the climate change and radical impoverishment reality that those who invented Earth Day 43 years ago were trying to help humanity avoid.

Economic recovery has become the most elusive term in the language of business, green looks as if it's off the table, and being eco-aware feels like being under siege.

But there's a secret that the oilmen and financiers would prefer we didn't know: the movement to protect life is awesomely more powerful than we give it credit for. And it's only going to grow, because, let's face it, the situation is extreme.

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Chief Theresa Spence's exceptional accomplishments

Photo: Michael DancingEagle Cassidy

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In media time, it's been light years since Attawapiskat chief Theresa Spence ended her 44-day fast last week. But beyond the dismissive attention span of Canada's mainstream body politic, there are different ways to count time.

In the near term, Spence has been shockingly belittled and underestimated because she spoke to the country in a new language, and I don't mean Cree, though that is also true.

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Rob Ford's left-wing conspiracy theory

Photo: Francis Mariani/Flickr

Congratulations, fellow left-wingers.

Like me, you probably thought that Rob Ford was ousted from his mayor-ship this week by the same "stubborn sense of entitlement" and "dismissive" and "confrontational" attitude he has consistently shown since he was elected to the city's top job. But no. Not at all. 

I only found out when Rob himself spilled the beans, shortly after the judgment removing him from office was announced, that it really was our conspiracy that did him in.

Wow. Frankly, until our Mr. (almost) Ex-Mayor explained differently in that post-ruling press conference, I'd been feeling that our conspiracy was a bit of a bust. Stephen Harper, I'm looking at you.

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