October 8, 2021

This week on the show, we’re talking about the absence of agriculture from Canada’s political discourse. Of course, during an election campaign that was only five weeks long, it’s hard to fit everything in, but rabble columnist Lois Ross makes the case for turning our politicians’ relatively scattered attention span to agriculture. It’s not an issue that necessarily garners the most headlines, but it is an issue that intersects with some of the most pressing crises of our time: climate change, worker’s rights, globalization and ever-increasing market concentration. 

Food systems are crucial to our survival, but are becoming increasingly precarious due to climate disasters, supply-chain disruptions, and the environmental impacts of land concentration. Farmers, of course, are crucial to food systems. In her latest column for rabble, Lois makes the case for a basic guaranteed income for farmers, touches on the need for co-operatives in farming, and warns us that simply due to a matter of median age, in the next ten years, more than half of Canada’s farmers will be retiring. This is no simple matter. 

Lois has spent the past 30 years working in Communications for a variety of non-profit organizations in Canada, including the North-South Institute. Born into a farm family in southern Saskatchewan and trained as a journalist and photographer, she is the author of both fiction and non-fiction books. She is passionate about agriculture, rural and international development, and health. You can read her monthly column at rabble.ca, of course. 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

It’s impossible to consume everything on the Internet, even more so when the social media we reluctantly rely on disappears for a day. Not to worry, here’s a recap of this week at rabble: in case you missed it.

First thing’s first: you may have noticed that rabble is looking a little different these days. We are happy to say we’ve completed a soft launch of our new website. Things are coming together, but of course, moving over 20+ years of content is a challenge, so please do bear with us as we work out any kinks. We’re excited to show you what we’ve been up to these past months though, and everything should be back up to speed soon! 

Beyond that: This week at rabble, Stephen Wentzell sits down for an interview with the only Green MP who isn’t Elizabeth May: but is Mike Morrice. Morrice is the Green’s newly-elected member of Parliament in the Ontario riding of Kitchener-Centre, which he won after a tight race with the NDP candidate in that constituency, Beisan Zubi. 

As it turns out, Morrice is going to spend his first term focused on serving his neighbours in Kitchener Centre rather than turn his attention to leading a party that is in no uncertain terms badly wounded in the wake of the departure of its leader, and the first Black and Jewish leader of a federal party ever, Annamie Paul. 

Of course, there are other ways to make change outside of government. Columnist Minister Faust takes us through the benefits of what he calls pro-social competition — where activists, unions, social entrepreneurs or governments can open competitions to fuel social innovation, solutions, and generally improve society’s conditions. 

This is a model that has seen success on the African continent, Faust writes. Collective minds are always going to field more solutions than any individual entity. And, competitions don’t have to be capitalist. 

“Unlike corporate contests that let contest-convenors seize all rights to submissions, a pro-social contest allows all contestants to own their results to build value wherever they can via their own co-ops, community groups, and teams. Or, the convenor can hire winners to do the work they’ve proven they can do. Every contestant who’s created practical solutions is now far closer to making the world better.” 

Also on the site this week: 

Sarah Macharia writes about how the international community has an obligation to stand in solidarity with girls and women in Afghanistan, especially those working in journalism and media whose entire families are now at risk of violence from the Taliban.

Yves Engler assesses the hypocrisy of Canadian politicians who condemn the People’s Party of Canada while continuing to endorse Canada’s support for far-right movements abroad. 

Michael Hackl writes this month’s Pro Bono column, in which he describes what legal options you might have if you’re experiencing online harassment. 

Plus much more! 

EXTRO

That’s a wrap for this week’s episode of rabble radio. Stay tuned for more of our social and political coverage next week. If you like the show please consider subscribing wherever you listen to your podcasts. Rate, review, share it with your friends and, maybe more importantly, your enemies. Follow us on social media across channels @rabbleca. 

If after listening, you feel like you have something to tell me, I’d love to hear from you. Get in touch anytime at [email protected]rabble.ca. I can’t always promise I’ll respond, but I do read everything.

As always, check the site for the latest in-depth analysis, insightful opinions and breaking news. I’m your host, Chelsea Nash. Thanks for listening! 

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Chelsea Nash

Chelsea is rabble.ca’s editor and currently lives in Barrie, Ontario. She began her journalism career covering Parliament Hill as a staff reporter for The Hill Times in...