This week on the show, Hamilton local Wayne MacPhail interviews rabble contributor and fellow Hamilton-area local Doreen Nicoll about what she sees as the threat of urban sprawl in Hamilton, Ontario. On November 9, Hamilton City Council held a meeting to discuss whether or not to expand its urban boundary onto the surrounding farmland and the final vote will take place November 19. That farmland is squished between the current urban boundary and the Greenbelt, but is not protected. There are a number of factors at play, including the lack of affordable housing in the city, the erasure of prime farmland, and, as with anything else, the climate crisis. 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

Yesterday, November 11 was Remembrance Day, of course. Here at rabble.ca, we featured some coverage that is worth reading beyond just one day. Our own national politics reporter Stephen Wentzell wrote about the military’s discriminatory history against queer folks, urging us to think about our veterans as having had intersectional identities and complex relationships with their fellow service members, the governments they served and the enemies they fought. 

Ottawa writer Morgan Duchesney delves into how it’s most often the working class that ends up going to war, and the upper classes that end up in politics. Our veterans, especially our wounded veterans, deserve better. “Poppies remind me that wars are fought by working people who are often discarded when their courage is no longer required,” writes Duchesney.

Finally, Darrell Rankin wrote about the importance of remembering the Mac-Paps. That’s the nickname for the Mackenzie-Papineau battalion, which, in 1937 through 1939, fought fascism in Spain for the International Brigades — an effort closely associated with the Communist Party. Those volunteers went to join the fight in Spain illegally, against the wishes of then-prime minister William Lyon Mackenzie King. When they returned, they were ostracized. Many faced discrimination and lost their jobs. All were denied official recognition as veterans, meaning there were no health benefits or military pensions available to them. 

Also on the site this week: 

Karl Nerenberg looks at the results from the municipal elections throughout Quebec, which concluded on November 7, and sees hope for progressives across the country. A record number of young people and women were elected, and five of the ten largest Quebec cities are now led by women, he notes. Nerenberg sees the re-instalment of Valérie Plante as mayor of Montreal as a victory not just for her, but for her party, Projet Montreal, and the progressive, grassroots movement it spawned from. 

Politics in our time can be excruciatingly transactional, especially at the local level. Municipal leaders often focus intently on satisfying the narrow interests of powerful groups, particularly developers. The municipal administrations of Ottawa and Toronto are textbooks examples of that approach, writes Nerenberg. They should be taking notes. 

Columnist Rachel Snow spilled some ink on the site this week as she examined the settler-colonial concept of “progress” and its detrimental relationship with First Nations. Are First Nations moving forward? If Canadians want the truth, Snow writes, they will have to understand that the way forward for First Nations people must come from the actual voices of all the First Nation people. We are still waiting to talk.

Finally, Brent Patterson writes about the need for the federal government to consider the emissions of the fighter jets it is working to acquire before it signs any contracts. This, especially in the wake of calls at COP26 for military emissions to be included when countries are discussing CO2 targets. As it stands, all the fuel they burn running jets, tanks and the like just… doesn’t exist, as far as many nations’ CO2 emissions measurements go. 

I’m your host, Chelsea Nash. Thanks for tuning in and we’ll talk next week! Thanks to our producer Breanne Doyle, Wayne MacPhail and guest Doreen Nicoll. Thanks to Karl Nerenberg for the music, and all the journalists and writers who contributed to this week’s content on rabble.ca. 

Photo: Rick Cordeiro (Creative Commons)

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