Hello and welcome to rabble radio, the proud reemergence of our weekly audio magazine. Rabble radio has its finger on the beat of the issues that matter to you. This week, we’re talking about the issues that are conspicuously absent from the federal election thus far. And, we’re talking youth voting. After that I’ll take you through last week’s headlines in a segment called “in case you missed it.” But it’s been a busy week — so don’t be too hard on yourself. That’s what we’re here for!
Our national politics reporter Stephen Wentzell joins us to talk about his story about how students feel their vote isn’t valued.
You can keep up with his reporting on the site, and be sure to sign up for our weekly newsletter so you never miss a beat.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
Here are some stories you might have missed on rabble.ca this week.
Joyce Nelson breaks down why we should be paying more attention to military spending this election. The federal government is set to award a $5-million contract for drone procurement this fall, in addition to the upfront cost of $19 million for the 88 new fighter jets it is proceeding with purchasing (the No New Fighter Jets Coalition pegs the full life-cycle cost of these jets at $77 million.) All this spending–in addition to a recent joint statement from Minister of Defence Harjit Sajjan and his American counterpart — could signal that Canada is planning to participate in the U.S. ballistic missile shield — the purpose of which is to create a North American shield to enable to U.S. to wage a “winnable” nuclear war.
And, Rachel Snow laments that this federal election — much like the 43 before it — will not advance the interests of the First Nations peoples. Instead, the Canadian electorate is focused on “first-world problems,” she writes.
“We live within a shadow world of structural and economic apartheid that is so ingrained that many no longer question it,” Snow notes of the living conditions of many First Nations.
Snow observes that talk about reconciliation during this election is all about platitudes, politics, and public perception.
Take the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, for instance, the first observance of which will take place on September 30. Rather than make reparations with Indigenous folks or address systemic challenges like clean water supply and living conditions on reserves, Trudeau “stepped out in front of the parade” and created a symbol.
“The catastrophic state of Indigenous communities sits in the balance as Canadians ponder which party has the more progressive policies for some future, amorphous ‘reconciliation,'” she writes.
Plus, Aidan Simardone writes much of the same but about the Liberals’ approach to Islamophobia.
The Liberals’ modus operandi towards Muslims is centred around “fairness,” he writes.
“It means opposing direct discrimination–hate crimes, slurs and exclusion from the halls of power. Rather than being systemic, it suggests that discrimination is the fault of individuals.”
The solution to Islamophobia (and to reconciliation) is not found in supplying each group with equal opportunity under capitalism; rather, more radical options are necessary, he writes.
Also this week, Kelly Tatham reports from the blockades of Fairy Creek where she is participating in the resistance to and protest of the logging industry cutting back the old-growth forests. Amid increasing police raids, and after witnessing police violence directed to the Black and Indigenous forest defenders, Tatham questions whether any of it is really about the trees anymore–has it ever been? Read her piece to learn about the human cost of Fairy Creek.
And, senior politics reporter Karl Nerenberg brings you up to speed on the first parallel look at the five major party leaders’ TV performance after Radio-Canada hosted the first such event earlier this week. Jagmeet Singh was surprisingly on top of his game, Nerenberg noted, seeming to give on-top answers in good–if not perfect — French, and overall giving off an air of amiability. The question remains if he — as the only party leader who wears a turban — will be able to overcome the xenophobia he faces in that province. Check out the rest of Nerenberg’s analysis at rabble.ca.
Candidates to watch
This week, national politics reporter Stephen Wentzell profiled Vancouver Centre candidate Breen Ouellette. Ouellette, in his second election campaign against long-time incumbent, Liberal Hedy Fry. In 2019, Ouellette managed to come second, nabbing 23.7 per cent of the vote. His career in politics has not been without its challenges, though: Ouellette told Wentzell he has been subjected to repeated violent threats from anti-maskers while out on the campaign trail.
Another candidate to watch this week: Libby Davies profiled Kamloops–Thompson — Cariboo candidate Bill Sundhu, who sees a realistic path to victory in the BC interior. Conservative Cathy Macleod is not running for reelection there, and Sundhu feels there is Conservative fatigue among voters, giving the NDP a shot at taking that seat. Sundhu — driven by social justice and informed by his own life experiences with racism, disability services, and much else — wants the people of his riding to know they should expect more from their Member of Parliament.
Six human rights and environmental groups are requesting precautionary measures for activists opposed to the Escobal mine in Guatemala, according to Mining Watch Canada.
We can’t forget: this weekend is Labour Day! UFCW Canada wants to remind you that as we recover from COVID-19, we must ensure that we do not return to the status quo. Worker’s rights are a big part of that, as we’ve seen from this pandemic.
Now for our top five headlines, all of which you can find at rabble.ca.
1. Stephen Wentzell: Student voters decry suspension of Vote on Campus program
2. Bruce Campbell: Climate crisis cannot be separated from extreme wealth inequality
4. Yves Engler: Afghanistan and the failure of Canadian ‘aid’
5. David Suzuki: IPCC report could be a legal game-changer for climate
THE MUSICAL QUESTION
Oh, and the music for this podcast? It’s the jazz stylings of our political boffin, Karl Nerenberg.
Stay tuned for more of our special election next week. If you like the show please consider subscribing wherever you listen to your podcasts. Rate, review, send it to a friend – you know the drill. Follow us on social media, @rabbleca on both Instagram and Twitter.
Catch more of our election coverage — including some fantastic, in-depth policy analysis, more candidates to watch, and some radical opinions — at rabble.ca.
Image: Parker Johnson/Unsplash