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Ten ridings to watch: Avalon, another good Newfoundland yarn

Election 2011: rabble.ca has chosen 10 key ridings across Canada for progressives to watch in the run-up to the May 2 vote, and asked local writers to assess them. The profiles highlight why the riding is important and issues local campaigns are focused on.

Like all good Newfoundland stories, the one about the tight race to take the Avalon riding can be told a thousand ways.

The defeated Conservative attempting a comeback; the incumbent Liberal struggling to hang onto his seat amidst a political landscape changing so fast no one can predict what will happen; the NDP candidate who would like to beat them both to the prize; an electorate that is long on memory and short on trust: all the makings of a good story are there, however you tell it.

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Ten ridings to watch: Apathy and the mysterious incumbent of Calgary East

Election 2011: rabble.ca has chosen 10 key ridings across Canada for progressives to watch in the run-up to the May 2 vote, and asked local writers to assess them. The profiles highlight why the riding profiled is important and issues local campaigns are focused upon.

Conservative MP Deepak Obhrai once declared to a room full of journalism students at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) that no election is ever foretold. Participating in a town hall forum focused on combating voter apathy, Obhrai was one of 16 local candidates from across the political spectrum urging young voters to help shape the future of their country by casting a ballot in the upcoming federal election.

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Ten ridings to watch: Saskatoon-Rosetown-Biggar

Election 2011: rabble.ca has chosen 10 key ridings across Canada for progressives to watch in the run-up to the May 2 vote, and asked local writers to assess them. The profiles highlight why the riding profiled is important and issues local campaigns are focused upon.

Saskatoon-Rosetown-Biggar is the riding to watch on May 2nd. It's a two-party race, Conservatives vs. NDP, and every political pundit in the country is saying it's "too close to call."

Kelly Block was relatively unknown when she ran and won for the Conservatives in 2008, having previously served as mayor of the town of Waldheim, outside of the riding. Like many of the Cons candidates in 2008, she kept a low profile and stayed out of the community debates.

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Pablo Solon opens Montreal Conference on the environment: Cochabamba +1

Fresh from ongoing international climate negotiations in Bangkok, the Bolivian ambassador to the UN, Pablo Solon, will attend and speak at next week-end's Montreal Conference on Climate Justice. The conference titled Cochabamba +1 : Climate Justice and Ecological Alternatives will feature no fewer than 30 speakers and nine panels, spread over three days, starting on the evening of April 15th and ending at midday April 17th.

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Times Change: An employment service that gives women a second chance at careers

International Women's Week is celebrating its 100th anniversary, but the gender gap persists . The president of Times Change in Toronto describes how her women's employment service is bridging the divide.

This year's International Women's Day (IWD) theme of equal access to education, training and technology is particularly meaningful for Arshia Raafat, President of the Board of Directors of Times Change Employment Service. The theme emphasizes the tenets of her Toronto-based, not-for-profit agency.

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Access-to-medicine bill is mired in Parliamentary red tape

Photo: fauxto_digital/Flickr

A parliament battle currently raging gives the impression that the Conservative government isn't keen on delivering affordable drugs to children dying from HIV in the rest of the world.

Of course, many members of the public disagree, especially the 30,261 signatories of a petition calling for the government to support Bill C-393.

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Confronting the hidden legacy of residential schools

In an attempt to discuss the impact of residential schools on the families of survivors and strategies for the future, the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs is opening a national intergenerational conference next week in Winnipeg. It is the first intergenerational event on the issue that is First Nations-led.

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Outrage as Ottawa company cuts down Beaver Pond Forest

Just a 20 minute drive west of Parliament Hill in the nation's capital lies Beaver Pond, an old-growth forest that according to First Nations is of historic and spiritual significance.

The forest is also home to what archaeologists estimate to be a 10,000 year-old stone circle. But according to reports, as of Monday the 1,100-hectare wilderness is being "clear-cut" -- all to make room for a new subdivision.

It isn't only First Nations who value this land. Surrounded by suburbs, the land is used by area residents for walking, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and mountain biking.

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Groups petition for limited spots in Missing Women Commission

The Missing Women Commission of Inquiry held hearings in Vancouver on Monday to determine which groups and individuals should be granted standing at the Inquiry, which will begin later this year.

Commissioner Wally Oppal began the proceedings by addressing a roomful of lawyers who represented victims' family members, women's rights advocates, aboriginal leaders, and other interest groups seeking standing.

In his opening remarks, Oppal explained that the government of B.C. established the Commission of Inquiry in September 2010 to answer questions raised during the Robert William Pickton trial.

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Hamilton vs. U.S. Steel

Fighting to keep pension rights for retired steelworkers and to support workers locked-out since November, 10,000 demonstrators -- including the new mayor -- rally in Hamilton. Photo: Jessica Rose

"Whose economy? Our economy! Who decides? We decide!" This rally cry was just one of the dozens heard when 10,000 demonstrators took to the streets of Hamilton on Saturday, showing solidarity with 900 locked-out members of the United Steelworkers Local 1005. The workers were locked out on Nov. 7 for refusing to agree to pension cutbacks that would affect 9,000 pensioners.

Busloads of labour activists came from cities as far away as Montreal and Sudbury, some departing as early as 4:00 a.m., to join the fight against United States Steel, as well as Stephen Harper's government for failing to protect workers from what many called corporate greed.

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