Hello and welcome to rabble radio. It’s the week of Friday, November 19 and I’m your host and the editor of rabble, Chelsea Nash. Thanks so much for listening! 

Rabble breaks down the news of the day from a progressive lens. It’s a good place to catch up and catch on to what’s happening in Canadian politics, activism, environment, and so much more. Listen to us on Apple podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts. 

We catch you up on the news of the week and take you further into the stories that matter to you. 

This week on the show, friend of the rabble family Libby Davies interviews climate activist and land defender Rita Wong. 

Libby Davies is author of Outside In: a Political Memoir. She served as the MP for Vancouver East from 1997-2015, and is former NDP Deputy Leader and House Leader, and is recipient of the Order of Canada. 

Rita Wong is a poet-scholar who has written several books of poetry. She understands natural ecosystems as critical infrastructure that must be protected and cared for in order to survive the climate crisis. In other words, old growth forests are what remains of the Earth’s lungs.

They discuss Fairy Creek — the site of ongoing protests against old-growth logging on the southern portion of Vancouver Island. The protests have been going on for over a year now, with many activists — Rita included — travelling to and from the region when they can at the invitation of Pacheedaht First Nation elder Bill Jones and hereditary leader Victor Peter, upon whose lands the logging is taking place.

Rita has written about her experiences and the plight of the land defenders at Fairy Creek before for rabble.ca, writing: 

“The time I’ve spent at Fairy Creek is some of the most inspiring I’ve ever experienced, with creative, generous, kind and talented people, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous, all spontaneously co-operating to uphold what Jones has asked us to: the responsibility to protect sacred forests for future generations.”

Libby and Rita also take some time to discuss the recent passing of Indigenous writer Lee Maracle, who was a mentor of Rita’s. 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

Let’s stay in B.C. for just a moment. This week at rabble, national politics reporter Stephen Wentzell writes about that province’s proposal to “remove criminal penalties for people who possess small amounts of illicit drugs for personal use.”

The proposed exemption is a big win for decriminalization activists, who have long-argued that decriminalization will help reduce the fear and shame associated with substance use that can be a barrier for people requiring care.

At the same time, some activists working to combat the opioid crisis say it’s not enough. Wentzell spoke to Donald MacPherson, executive director for the Canadian Drug Policy Coalition, who said he applauds the B.C. provincial government for its proposed shift, though he worries that leaving lower jurisdictions to implement varying decriminalization laws will create inconsistent and “piecemeal” policies around the country.

“This is a federal law. The federal government hasn’t taken this leadership,” MacPherson said. “They should be taking the leadership to decriminalize simple possession for drugs across Canada.”

Also on the site this week: 

It’s Trans Awareness Week, with Trans Remembrance Day taking place tomorrow, November 20. To mark the week, Charlotte Dalwood, a freelance writer based in Alberta, tells the story of how one woman went from being a trans ally to being an anti-trans activist, and back to an ally again (if not a passive one). Rather than arguing that trans exclusion is anti-feminist, writes Dalwood, trans women and our allies ought to instead mobilize the stories of ex-gender criticals (as the trans exclusionary movement likes to call themselves). 

“Whatever such people have done in the past, they are in a unique position now to pull others out of the gender-critical movement. That makes them invaluable allies.”

Earlier this week, columnist Chuka Ejeckam issued a warning to be wary of those who claim to speak for the Black community writ large. He tackles the controversial and, as he points out, unfounded opinion piece in the Toronto Star by Royson James, in which James attempts to take down former Star columnist and writer and activist Desmond Cole. 

Speaking of the Star, former Star reporter John Miller writes about the major problem facing Canadian media: a loss of public trust. He has some ideas on how we might repair that trust.

All that and more, as always, on rabble.ca.

EXTRO

That’s it for this week! We’ll see you around the site, I’m sure. If you like the show please consider subscribing wherever you listen to your podcasts. Rate, review, share it with your friends — it takes two seconds to support independent media like rabble. Follow us on social media across channels @rabbleca. 

Got feedback for the show? Get in touch anytime at [email protected]rabble.ca. I can’t always promise I’ll respond, but I do read everything you write in.

I’m your host, Chelsea Nash. Thanks for tuning in and we’ll talk next week!

Thanks to our producer Breanne Doyle, Libby Davies and Rita Wong. Thanks to Karl Nerenberg for the music, and all the journalists and writers who contributed to this week’s content on rabble.ca. 

Photo by: A.Davey (via WikiCommons)

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rabble radio is the flagship show of the rpn. It’s a mix of political commentary, soundseeing tours, movie reviews, and the latest in Canadian music. It’s all produced by a country-wide cadre of volunteers.