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Green on campus: An Earth Day cross-Canada survey

Our student union at Ryerson University made environmental initiatives a top priority this year and, as students, we love that. But we were curious to know what environmental advocacy was taking place on other campuses across Canada.

In fall 2008, David Suzuki went across the country visiting different universities telling students why they need to get active for sustainability now. So, we asked the questions: what are student unions doing for major provincial environmental issues, as well as for their campuses?

After contacting one college or university from every province and territory, we found that most student unions take on micro-local environmental initiatives rather than provincial ones. 

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Think all stimulus is good stimulus? Not so fast

The Left in Canada has been quick to point out the shortcomings of the Conservative government's official response to the recession. Not surprisingly, the response doesn't mark a departure from their knee-jerk pro-capital and anti-worker reflexes.

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Action on climate change? Cuba Si

The world is getting hotter, and the main cause is greenhouse gas emissions produced by human activity. Enormous damage has already been done, and we will have to live with the consequences of past emissions for decades, perhaps even centuries. Unless we rapidly and drastically cut emissions, the existing damage will turn to catastrophe.

Anyone who denies that is either lying or somehow unaware of the huge mass of compelling scientific evidence.

Many publications regularly publish articles summarizing the scientific evidence and outlining the devastation that we face if action isn’t taken quickly. 

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The elephant not in the room: Castro and the Summit of the Americas

Cuba, and in particular its former President, Fidel Castro, is already a player at the fifth Summit of the Americas which takes place Friday and Saturday, April 17 and 18, in Port of Spain, Trinidad. That much is evident from information coming out of Havana, Moscow, Santiago de Chile and La Paz in recent days.

On Friday April 3, Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega met with Fidel Castro and handed him a copy of the proposed Declaration of Port of Spain, which will be sent for adoption by the leaders of the 34 countries attending the Summit, including Canada.

What about the blockade?

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The Coalition, BC-STV and next steps for the Left

It was supposed to be our “Obama moment.”  January 26, one week after George Bush’s last day in office, the progressive coalition would topple the federal Conservatives and manifest the “62 per cent majority” government that Canadian voters had elected three months earlier.

Of course, the moment never came.  But something interesting happened during the election and during the short life of the progressive coalition.  People were getting involved. For a moment, the social taboos were lifted and political discourse was cool.  People had strong opinions and expressed them loudly. 

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U.S. 'Black liquor' could cause hangover for Canadian pulp and paper

The grand vin of Canada-U.S. free trade is hard to swallow these days because it has been mixed up with a shooter that is priced in half gallons and appropriately named “black liquor.”

The black liquor raising U.S. spirits and leaving us with a hangover is a concentrated residue of wood lignin that is a byproduct of making kraft pulp.  The “liquor” is separated out in a recovery boiler and then used as fuel to keep the boiler going. 

Now, some enterprising American pulp and paper producers have implemented a spectacularly fraudulent scheme to generate billions dollars in tax credits from their black liquor use.  It is a massive subsidy which directly imperils Canadian pulp and paper mills and thousands of jobs.

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Just what we don't need: An investor rights deal with the EU

How many Canadians realize the Harper government is well into detailed talks aimed at concluding a comprehensive “free trade” agreement with the European Union?

Probably not many yet, though hopefully more will soon. In light of the bad experience with NAFTA and other similar trade deals worldwide, the last thing we need right now is yet another investor rights agreement, this time to increase the power of European and Canadian corporations at the expense of Canadian and European citizens. But corporate lobby groups like the Canadian Council of Chief Executives are relentless. Even though the global economic meltdown has totally discredited the prescription of deregulation, privatization and free trade, they continue to insist we need still more of it.

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AmazonFAIL: A rapid response social media campaign

Over the holiday weekend, a firestorm let loose on the Internet: For no apparent reason, books on Amazon.com with feminist, LGBT and sexual-empowerment themes were removed from the sales rankings, numbers that show how well a product is performing on the website.

Angry authors and readers responded by launching a full-on social media assault, using blogs, Facebook and Twitter to raise awareness and to collect signatures on a petition.

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Diving in to save money and the planet

In today’s economic climate and environmental culture, people are looking for ways to cut costs wherever possible while still being green. I recently took an enlightening trip to Vancouver and, looking for ways to scale back my own expenses, I stayed with friends. Considering their student status, I was struck by the overflowing pantry. An abundance of eggs, green vegetables, exotic fruits, whole salmons and multi-grain breads practically fell out of the refrigerator when they tried to open it. Wondering how they could afford such a variety of fresh foods, they invited me in on their secret – dumpster diving. Why not take the food out of the garbage instead of sending it to a landfill?

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Protests respond to Ontario immigration raids

Nearly 200 outraged community and labour activists rattled the fences of Rexdale Immigration Detention Centre on April 5, demanding the release of over 100 undocumented workers arrested during unprecedented immigration raids across southwestern Ontario.

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