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Updated: 1 year 2 weeks ago

Gaslands is Jay Manafest's anti-oil and gas hip hop homage.

Wed, 2014-02-12 14:30

Canadian hip hop artist Jay Manafest has released a new video, Gaslands, that chastizes the oil and gas industry. Borrowing visuals from the RCMP riot on highway 134 in Kent County, New Brunswick, as well as disturbing fly-by shots of the tar sands, Manafest's video is a call to action, both of the direct and long-term nature.

"Gaslands is a visual exploration of the traumatic effects of petroculture on the Canadian experience," says Manafest. "Released to coincide with the “Petrocultures” conference at McGill University, Gaslands is a searing indictment of the extractive industry in Canada, and the social and environmental impact of its practices."

For more of Manafest's work, visit: www.jaymanafest.com

Public health care in Canada facing an emergency

Wed, 2014-02-12 11:23

Public health care in Canada is facing a major crisis, as sustained underfunding, accompanied by active political sabotage by the Conservatives, points toward the demise of Canada's public system.

Conservative politicians are refusing calls to negotiate a renewed 10-year federal health accord, one that asserts common standards for public health care, while lurching toward policy directives announced a couple years back that link health care to free-market economic winds.

Health care in Canada, without a common policy framework, means no public health care for the long term. As provincial governments coast-to-coast divert public health funding into the corporate sector, mainly via public-private-partnerships, acute underfunding is only heightened, while corporate, for-profit options are emboldened.

As the mainstream media approaches a consensus in asserting that the 2014 Conservative budget is not controversial, even calling it comfort food, the reality is that the budget is austerity-driven, shaped by a financial logic of zero deficit, all while failing to meaningfully address the health care crisis, one of the most pressing federal issues facing Canada.

Conservatives are saying very little about the Canada Health Act, legislation that has worked in the past to shutdown provincial attempts to embrace free market 'solutions' for public health care problems, as seen in Alberta. In parallel, a legal case, that challenges the fundamental integrity of the public system, will soon arrive at the supreme court, driven by corporate-minded doctor in BC.

Many signs point to an intentional Conservative attack on the public system, beyond silence on the Health Act, politicians in Ottawa are actively encouraging provinces to 'experiment', policy speak that celebrates increasing reliance on private involvement in the public system. A process securing greater profit margins for the corporate health sector, profits reliant and bolstered by public financing and dependent on the infrastructure of a public health system.

As people in Canada follow toxic US political debates surrounding a deeply botched, corporate-driven government healthcare plan proposed by the Obama administration, urgent action is needed today to respond to systematic policy attacks on Canada’s public system.

Conservative policy on health care in Canada is equivalent to a strategy methodical destruction, including localized demolition work, accompanied by programmed dynamite blasts, all targeting a massive structure, that the Conservatives hope will eventually crumble.

Certainly there are many voices speaking out, from public sector unions like CUPE, to the Council of Canadians, but missing from this response is urgent, grassroots mobilization. These Conservative attacks on the healthcare system are literally life and death issues for so many, as many reading understand from experience, attacks on the public system that embody the neo-colonial, pro-corporate, austerity fever that today is sweeping these lands.

Why should activists mobilize to defend health care? There entrenched problems of access, representation and gender inequality that the current incarnation of public healthcare in Canada fails to address or cover, all magnified with an inability of the public system to deeply address the colonial nature of the Canadian state. However Canada's public health system is an evolving process, not originating in state-driven liberal policy, but in grassroots mobilizations over many decades, driven by social movements and workers movements, collectively demanding access to healthcare, asserted as a collective right for all, a history of mobilization that is profound and inspiring.

The attacks Conservative against public health care are real and dangerous, although the moves necessary to fight back at a grassroots level are unclear, a major and deep discussion within progressive networks is urgently necessary.

Let us move together to defend health care as a right, not rooted in notions of a liberal Canadian state, but inspired by the collective ideals fundamental to popular mobilizations of past generations, ideals that are the true bedrock of public health care, as a representation of the commons.

Underdog to the Olympics: Halifax-based sprinter sets sights on Paralympic dream

Wed, 2014-02-12 07:39

K'JIPUKTUK (Halifax) - Despite being the second-largest sporting event in the modern world, the Paralympic Games—the premier tournament for athletes with physical disabilities—rarely garner the same hype and hullabaloo as their able-bodied counterpart.

When the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, wind down in late February, the same level of buzz is unlikely to continue into March, when the Paralympics are scheduled to begin.

“It’s (a) lack of structure and lack of awareness around the legitimacy of the sport,” said David Greig, a Canadian veteran of the Paralympic movement and former national coach with Athletics Canada, about the underdog status of the Paralympics and Para-athletics in general.

“I think that’s the biggest thing.”

According to Greig, Para-sports are overshadowed in part because of the absence of a mainstream support system for encouraging and investing in disabled athletes similar to the one available to able-bodied athletes.

Supportive, performance-oriented media and good promotion of quality athletes with disabilities are also key to moving the yardstick forward, he said.

“You’re empowering people with disabilities, but you’re also witnessing some pretty cool high-performance human beings,” said Greig.

Compared to the modern version of the Olympic Games, which began in Greece in 1896, the Paralympic Games are relatively young, having made their summer debut in 1960 in Rome. Ornskoldsvik, Sweden, hosted the first Paralympic Winter Games sixteen years later.

For Greig, part of the challenge today is normalizing Paralympic athletics in the mainstream.

He listed off what he believes is necessary: access to equipment, training opportunities, quality programming and coaching, good facilities and long-term, lifetime opportunities for engagement in sport.

The view from the frontline

Shelburne County, N.S. native Jackie Marciano is living the Para-athletic experience first-hand.

Currently the top-ranked single amputee 400-metre sprinter in Canada, the Halifax-based 24-year-old is training toward the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

“The able-bodied Olympics does get more attention and media coverage directed towards them,” said Marciano. “But as Para-athletes you just kind of have to go out and get your own money.”

Marciano—who lost his right leg below the knee playing on rail tracks as a nine-year-old boy—was recruited when Paralympic developing coach Ueli Alberts spotted him out for a jog in Wolfville, N.S.

“Jackie really didn’t know there was sporting opportunities for him,” said Greig, who worked with Marciano throughout the young athlete’s career. “(He) was literally … running down the side of the road.”

Nearly four years later, and after narrowly missing the team headed for the London Olympics in 2012, Marciano has his eyes set on Rio.

His Canadian record-setting time for the 400-metre race is 52.22 seconds. That is fewer than three seconds behind world record holder for the single amputee 400-metre sprint event, American David Price, who ran a 49.87-second race in 2013.

Marciano worked with prosthetists at Dalhousie University to help design the special carbon-fibre prosthetic he wears to train.

“It’s (about) pushing the devices to their limits,” said Marciano, likening the process to developing able-bodied sporting equipment such as better skis or a faster bobsled.

“Doing that you’re really just pushing yourself as hard as you can.”

“I’m pretty proud of Jackie,” said Greig.

“He’s focusing his attention and energy into not only improving himself as an athlete but also promoting the sport which is just hugely admirable.”

“Shitty things happen to these people and they’re trying to make the most of it,” said Marciano.

But in some senses, it’s the general public that has the catching up to do.

“Those people don’t care,” Marciano said about Para-athletes. “They’re just like, ‘This is sweet. Let’s go out and do this. Let’s go do what we can actually do.’

“I think the general public is seeing that and jumping on with that idea.”

People are caring less and less about all the little problems, added Marciano.

In that sense, the Paralympics play an important role in normalizing sports that don’t fit into the able-bodied mainstream. They force the general public to confront pre-conceptions about the perceived limitations of disability.

Like the Olympics for the able-bodied, the Paralympics can inspire people with physical disabilities to engage in athletics, illustrating through example that a healthy, lifelong relationships with sport is possible, whether for a high-calibre competitor or an everyday athlete.

“Let’s take this to a new level,” said Marciano. “Let’s make people feel whole again.”

The future of the Paralympics

As for the Paralympic movement today: “It’s growing,” said Greig.

“I think with all the scandals and issues with the Olympics and disruptions and those kinds of things … people (and) sponsors are starting really to look at … the Paralympic movement.”

As an athlete, Marciano said he is also optimistic for the future of the Paralympic Games.

“When people think of the Olympics they think of the best athletes—completely functional able-bodied athletes—competing against each other,” said Marciano.

According to Marciano, the Paralympics take a same-but-different approach, combining even more science and technology with biology and athleticism.

“I think it’s honestly going to surpass the Olympics,” he said.

“I always like to say I’m living history as it happens,” he added. “It’s going to be wild.”


GroundWire | February 10, 2014

Tue, 2014-02-11 11:47
Community Radio News from January 28th-February 10th

This episode of GroundWire was produced on Fort William First Nations Territory in Thunder Bay, ON at CILU by Carly Forbes



Free Speech Radio News returns to the airwaves on February 11th | Aaron Lakoff, CKUT

CBSA announces a quota to take refugee status away from 875 individuals | Jane Williams, Red Eye Coop Radio



Reflections on the suicide of Lucia Vega Jiminez while in CBSA custody | Fatima Herrera and Maria Delores Mora, CJSF

After 18 years Winnipeg's Mondragon closes | Daniel Emberg, CKUW

A discussion of the laws around sex work after the Bedford ruling | Carly Forbes, CILU


Community Radio Report:

A preview of the upcoming Homelessness Marathon | Carly Forbes, CILU


GroundWire is a project of the NCRA.

Contribute to GroundWire! contact groundwireprod (at) gmail.com


From Abadan, Iran to Dartmouth, Nova Scotia

Tue, 2014-02-11 07:12
Chess with the Doomsday Machine tells civilian side of war

K'JIPUKTUK (Halifax) - A play about civilians and soldiers caught up in the Iran-Iraq war, Chess with the Doomsday Machine, is bound to stay with you for a long time.

The play is set in Abadan a city in Iran under siege by deadly accurate Iraqi artillery, the Doomsday Machine of the title.

The action focuses on a few people who, for reasons of their own refuse to leave the ravaged city and a young soldier who is caught between military duty and his ties to those stragglers.

"We wanted to look at the place of civilians in situations like this, and not worry about the [politics of] the war, and the fighting, but really focus on what happens to civilians," says director and playwright Shahin Sayadi.

Sayadi adapted the play from a novel by Iranian author Habib Ahmadzadeh.

Convincing acting by the entire cast, music that's part of the action, an emphasis on movement, and a very sparse use of dialogue turn the play into something out of the ordinary.

Although the actors' native language is English, much of the little dialogue is in Farsi, the official language of Iran.

There is a reason for that. The play had to be accessible to both Canadians and Iranians.

The play premiered in Abadan, then went on to a performance at a prestigious festival in Tehran, prior to openening at the Alderney Landing Theatre in Dartmouth last week.

Same Canadian actors, exactly the same play.

"I wanted the play to be the same for both audiences," Ayadi explains, "so I started taking away the language, just stayed with the story, and this is where we ended up."

Ayadi grew up in Abadan, so performing there was very special.

The play was well received in Abadan, Ayadi says, but the Tehran performance caused mixed reactions.

"There were people who were very touched, but others didn't really want to be reminded of it and talk about it, I guess for some it is just too close to home," says Ayadi.

Ayadi is also the artistic director of Onelight Theatre.

Onelight started out on Gottingen Street eleven years ago and has now found a permanent home at Alderney Landing Theatre in Dartmouth.

Over the years, it has gained a reputation for putting on quality plays that highlight the voices of culturally under-represented communities African Nova Scotians, indigenous peoples, immigrants.

Ayadi agrees with that assessment, but also downplays it.

"I don't think about it in those terms, for me it is what I am familiar with, it is my story," Fayadi says. "For me, all our work is always about the story, always beyond an agenda.

"And I just tell the stories that I am familiar with. It just so happens that it is a story of many people, of a huge part of modern society in Canada, people we go to work with, or encounter on the street, and we don't know that this is their story."

Chess with the Doomsday Machine continues at Alderney Landing Theatre

Wednesday, February 12 – Friday, February 14, 7:30 PM

Follow Robert Devet on Twitter @DevetRobert

Lucia Vega Jimenez kills herself under the detention of the CBSA

Mon, 2014-02-10 12:49

On December 20th 2013, Lucia Vega Jimenez killed herself under the detention of the Canadian Border Services Agency in Vancouver BC. 

Her death, which was kept a secret for over a month, has sparked many questions and political action in the migrant justice community. No One Is Illegal put together a petition with over 7,000 signatures demanding an independent civilian investigation in to Lucia's death and the end of racist and anti-migrant policies from the Canadian Government.

Sula Greene spoke to Karla Lottini and Shireen Soofi from No One Is Illegal about their demands and the circumstances surrounding Lucia's death. 

This segment was aired on Off the Hour, the community-news programming of CKUT 90.3 FM.

The Centre for Community Organizations in Montreal comes out in opposition of Bill 60

Mon, 2014-02-10 12:42

As the public debate regarding Bill 60, or The Charter of Quebec Values, rages on, several organizations have recently released statements objecting to the Bill’s wide scope, one that could potentially be applied to non-profit community groups.

CKUT’s Anna Marchese sat down with Gabriel Bergevin-Estable from COCo, The Centre for Community Organizations in Montreal, to discuss their recent staff and board resolution in opposition of Bill 60.  

This segment was aired on Off the Hour, the community-news programming of CKUT 90.3 FM.

Alain Magloire's vigil as a protest against police crimes

Mon, 2014-02-10 12:37



On Tuesday, February 4th, a vigile was held for Alain Magloire. Alain was shot by Montreal police during a confrontation near the bus station in downtown Montreal.

According to witnesses, he was holding a hammer at the time. Alain Magloire had recently ended up in the streets because of mental health issues. The people who spoke out to the crowd during the vigile were commemerating Magloire's memory, together with the memory of many others killed by the police. Speeches focused on denouncing police brutality.

CKUT's Amelie Phillipson was at the vigile and files this report.

This segment was aired on Off the Hour, the community-news programming of CKUT 90.3 FM.





Ivonne Hernandez facing deportation and permanent seperation from her son

Mon, 2014-02-10 12:25

Ivonne is a non-status survivor of conjugal violence who lost custody of her son and was arrested and detained in pre-planned ambush by border agents in Montreal; she faces potential removal from Canada and permanent separation from her son. This report features a press conference as well as a recent picket in support of Ivonne.

Khurshid Awan still in sanctuary to avoid deportation

Mon, 2014-02-10 12:13

Khurshid Begum Awan has been in sanctuary in a Montreal-area church since August 2013, resisting a deportation to Pakistan and separation from her daughter, Tahira Awan, and her grandson, Ali.

This report by Amelie Phillipson from the Off the Hour news collective features a recent picket in support of the Awan Family.

This segment was aired on Off the Hour, the community-news programming of CKUT 90.3 FM.


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The Dominion is a monthly paper published by an incipient network of independent journalists in Canada. It aims to provide accurate, critical coverage that is accountable to its readers and the subjects it tackles. Taking its name from Canada's official status as both a colony and a colonial force, the Dominion examines politics, culture and daily life with a view to understanding the exercise of power.

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