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March 7, 2009 Canadian News

Justice Served Cold

Four Atlantica arrestees declare police and prison mistreatment

March 5, 2009 Weblog:

Halifax Media Co-op, end of tour

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Picture 1: Our presentation at Just Us cafe on Spring Garden had a really good turnout, one of the highest, at 13 people. The tour, on average brought about 8-10 people out to each of its events. The thing about touring a city (as opposed to a country) is that, while touring a much smaller area, small groups of people make it out to whichever event is the easiest one for them to attend. With each event, a different group of people comes out, and most are there for really good reasons, making every presentation interesting in the sense that the people in attendance dictate its terms.

Picture 2: "The revolution starts here!" shouted Dominion editor, Dru Oja Jay, in the midst of a presentation at the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC). Those in attendance were highly enthused, amazingly supportive individuals, ready to take a stand on Canadian media. It was a rejuvenating experience to be in the same room as these folks, older than myself, who see the big picture with blatant confidence. In this picture: Errol Sharpe of Fernwood Publishing (middle), and Dave Shaw of PSAC (right).

» view more photos in"Halifax Media Co-op, end of tour"

February 25, 2009 Weblog:

Halifax Media Co-op, Day 22

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Picture 1: A public presentation in the North End was held upstairs from Anchor Archive, a growing local library of zines on every topic available. Besides being the most well-attended event this month, a journalist from the Chronicle Herald described how he had survived the paper's brutal cuts, and expressed interest in being involved in the co-op.

Picture 2: Our presentation in Bedford, aka 'an attempt at branching out,' proved a little less than fruitful in spite of concerted attempts at postering in bus stops and sticking flyers under people's windshield wipers nearby the community's shopping mall. There is a lack of public space in Bedford. We are told that the ice rink is the favorite public hangout by our solo contact there to date, Mark, who, when he's not helping build media co-ops, is driving a Zamboni.

Picture 3: The 7th annual Homelessness Marathon, which airs every year in Montreal, aims to raise awareness about homelessness with 14 hours straight of live broadcasting. This year, CKDU 88.1 FM in Halifax hosts a listening booth at St. Matthews United Church of Canada, serving food and drinks all night long. In collaboration, women from the Roberts Street "Stitch and Bitch" have a KNIT-A-THON to raise funds for the Out of the Cold Emergency Winter Shelter.

Picture 4: The Media Co-op's own traveling videographer, Van Ferrier. Van has returned to Montreal since this photo was taken, but before he did, was instrumental in documenting the process of building the co-op. Here, he flims The Dominion's first annual AGM.

» continue reading "Halifax Media Co-op, Day 22"

» view more photos in"Halifax Media Co-op, Day 22"

February 19, 2009 Weblog:

Halifax Media Co-op, Day 16 (skipped a few, but am compensating)

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Picture 1: Halifax is saturated in cooperative media potential. Posters detailing a list of events in different neighborhoods in and around Halifax can be seen from the four directions.

Picture 2: A presentation at Oxfam involved many projections, even though the writing was on the wall.

Picture 3: A journalism skillshare and intro to the Halifax Media Co-op website drew a diverse and engaged audience into NSPIRG's office at Dalhousie.

Picture 4: Handing people flyers outside of the Halifax Ferry Terminal leading to Dartmouth was incredibly fun. Being able to tell people about the upcoming event in Dartmouth ("it's not just a Halifax thing") felt like an exercise in being thorough.

» view more photos in"Halifax Media Co-op, Day 16 (skipped a few, but am compensating)"

February 15, 2009 Weblog:

Justice Served Cold

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Asaf Rashid, one of the four defendants, stands in front of the Nova Scotia Provincial Court. Photo: David Parker

HALIFAX - It was a cold winter's day nearing Christmas, and not much was stirring on the streets of Halifax. In front of the Provincial Court on Spring Garden Road, a group of people huddled together, entering the court for a long-awaited trial date. On December 22, 2008, four Haligonians took the stand and testified in front of a judge to a courtroom packed with supporters.

The defendants had been charged a year and a half earlier after hundreds took to the streets of downtown Halifax on June 15, 2007, to oppose a regional integration proposal known as Atlantica. Charges included carrying weapons, wearing masks with intent, unlawful assembly, and resisting arrest.

The Atlantica demonstrations numbered 400 protesters and included a militant tactic known as a black bloc that intended to shut down the conference.

Demonstrators were targeted by police and reported extreme police brutality, including being choked until unconscious, shocked with taser guns, and beaten by batons.

George Dalli was one of the defendants on trial. "I saw police hitting other people, pepper spraying, tasers were drawn: it was an intense and intimidating situation before the arrest. I told the officers 'I'm not resisting arrest, not trying to be violent.' I was rolled onto my stomach, hands behind my back. I was choked, fingers were jabbed into my neck, I said 'don't do this to me, I'm losing consciousness, don't do this to me', and I continued saying this until I lost consciousness."

The 21 individuals arrested that day spent the next three days in jail, the first 48 hours in lockdown.

» continue reading "Justice Served Cold"

February 14, 2009 Weblog:

Halifax Media Co-op, Day 7 (more like Day 12...)

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Picture 1: The Dominion presented at the Ecology Action Center to the most receptive audience to date. When asked "If we lived in a real democracy, what would news media look like?" people's responses included "Politicians would have to speak for themselves," "the media would be accountable to it's readers," and "news would not be only from the perspective of power."

Picture 2: We The Dominion presented at the Halifax Labour Council to a small crowd, but many enthusiastic head-nods made up for what we lacked in numbers. The highlight of the occasion was, without question, Labour Council member Judy Haiven's extra-special Mr. Coffee brew.

Picture 3: A Friday night lecture at Dalhousie University entitled "Enduring Legacy, Enduring Challenge: The Global and Canadian Dimensions of the Trans-Altlantic Slave Trade," was one of many events going on in Halifax as part of African Heritage (or Black History) Month. Dr. Afua Cooper performed a spoken word piece called "The Negro Cemetery" about how old 'negro' cemeteries are currently resurfacing all over Canada--in corn fields, and in potato fields. Made me quake, simply. "Historians, by and large, see themselves as guardians of the story of the nation," said Cooper about the way she is treated as a historian who is trying to challenge prevalent notions of Canadian history in scholarly circles.

» view more photos in"Halifax Media Co-op, Day 7 (more like Day 12...)"

February 11, 2009 Canadian News

Paper Mill Seizure Boosts Populist Premier

"Canada's Hugo Chavez" to be challenged under NAFTA

February 10, 2009 Weblog:

Halifax Media Co-op, Day 6

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Picture 1: The Media Co-op's first formal presentation was given to Journalism students at the University of King's College. The crowd was small but receptive, and the event was well-documented by the Media Co-op's Van Ferrier (our traveling videographer).

Picture 2: A Halifax Career Fair for students of Mount Saint Vincent University, Dalhousie, and Saint Mary's was met with protest. The event included recruiters for Lockheed Martin, the world's largest arms manufacturer. Local activist Asaf Rashid played the role of Dr. Clusterbomb of the Weapons Inspection Team.

» view more photos in"Halifax Media Co-op, Day 6"

February 9, 2009 Weblog:

Halifax Media Co-op, Day 5

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Picture 1: Last-minute printing needs landed several Dominion organizers at Kinkos an hour before the AGM. They walked in with a USB key, and left with darling pamphlets, secret ballots (on sky blue and lavender paper), and double-sided copies of the candidates' bios. A little less colorful but no less valuable, were the financial statements and special resolutions to be presented at the much-anticipated event.

Picture 2: The food was set out, along with coffee and OJ. Fifteen people attended The Dominion's first ever AGM, and eighteen more participated online. The whole thing was broadcast across the country to whoever cared to watch. Resolutions were passed, and a new board was elected, including Harjap Grewal (new Reader member rep), and Tracy Glynn (winning Writer member candidate). Other highlights included the suggestion that The Dominion feature a cute baby animal in each of its forthcoming issues, in the spirit of covering more positive news.

Picture 3: Dominion Editor Dawn Paley's "Economic Downturn shoes" will continue to glitter long after the fall of capitalism.

» view more photos in"Halifax Media Co-op, Day 5"

February 7, 2009 Weblog:

Halifax Media Co-op, Day 4

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Media Co-op HQ, early morning, post-Muesli. The day before The Dominion's AGM and the plan is, roughly: work, eat, work, practice presentation (work), make pamphlets (work), go outside, walk, work, bluegrass with the Smokin' Contraband.

Three more organizers have arrived in the last 24: Dawn Paley (Dominion editor) from Vancouver, Van Ferrier (video guy), and Moira Peters (coordinating editor extraordinaire)!!

February 6, 2009 Weblog:

Halifax Media Co-op, Day 3

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A practice-run of the Media Co-op's presentation got positive feedback and a few snickers (all in good fun) from a couple of friends who sat down to listen.

Slide 1: After assessing an issue each of both the Chronicle Herald and the Metro, it was pretty clear that the vast majority of articles were "canned," (gleaned from newswires). Of those that weren't, most reproduced content from press releases or announcements. Of those that were actually original, local stories however, none could rightly be called investigative.

Slide 2: First, we take Halifax.

» view more photos in"Halifax Media Co-op, Day 3"

February 5, 2009 Weblog:

Halifax Media Co-op, Day 2

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Hillary talks briefly to the Student Coalition Against War (SCAW) at Dalhousie University about the Media Co-op. There is interest in future involvement and events.

December 27, 2008 Opinion

Mining the Island: An International Perspective

Struggles in Guatemala harken back to Cape Breton's mining boom

November 24, 2008 Canadian News

The Nuclear Push

Mining lobby wants uranium ban lifted

November 14, 2008 Opinion

The Steep Price of Power

Colombian coal fuels Atlantic Canada, but at what cost?

October 27, 2008 Weblog:

Only Non-Irving Owned Newspaper in New Brunswick Goes Under

A press release issued by the Carleton Free Press, less than a year after the small paper began circulation in northern New Brunswick:

Carleton Free Press suspends publication

Citing the downturn in the economy and inability to compete with a chain that has cut its advertising and subscription prices to the bone for the next year, the Carleton FreePress today announced it is suspending publication.

Today’s paper will be the last.

“We have tried everything,” said publisher Ken Langdon. “Our staff has been heroic, right down to the last person. We’ve got a good paper. We’ve earned a place in the fabric of Carleton County, but in the end we simply cannot compete with Irvings’ financial power.

“Brunswick News can afford to drop a few million dollars here to get the Bugle-Observer’s monopoly back and the Irving chain’s manager is willing to do what it takes here to discourage any others who might take heart from our success to compete in other New Brunswick markets,”

Langdon said three factors converged in the last few weeks to create insurmountable problems for the paper. One was the market crash and the fallout on the local economy. The other was the cost of adding a second paper on Fridays, which the FreePress felt it had to do to compete. The third was a Bugle-Observer announcement that it was cutting its ad prices in half for the next year and it’s per issue price from $1.25 to 25 cents. (This week it offered a year-long special buy at 29 per cent of its regular ad rate.)

“The last few weeks have been harrowing,” said Langdon. “We have wracked our brains to find a way to save the paper but we can’t alter the numbers.

“Big bucks have prevailed.”

» continue reading "Only Non-Irving Owned Newspaper in New Brunswick Goes Under"

October 23, 2008 Weblog:

Fiftieth anniversary of the Springhill Mine disaster

Today is the 50th anniversary of the third Springhill coal mine disaster.

The CBC has some archival TV footage from the days following the disaster. Seventy four men were killed in the disaster, and 100 miners were trapped underground for almost nine days before being freed.

Prior to the deadly events of 1958, there were two large mine disasters at Nova Scotia's Springhill Mine, one in 1956, and another in 1891.

April 25, 2008 Agriculture

Golden Opportunity for Abandoned Farms

Organic beekeepers co-op fighting to keep Cape Breton free of varroa mite

April 1, 2008 Weblog:

Paul Martin on Helping Africa

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[Irving-owned media version here.]

[From an email:]

Engineers Without Borders hosted a lecture by former PM Paul Martin last night at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton. The title of the lecture was called: "How business and government can help Africa." The auditorium spilled into 2 other full rooms. The rooms were filled with many Liberals but also several people completely offended by the lecture. We had a great flyer done up, which mocked the event and had information about Paul Martin's track record.

When Paul Martin began his speech. Two UNB students unfurled a banner that read "Canada Out of Haiti and Afghanistan". They were told by a student organizer to move to the side, which actually made them closer to Martin. The students were surprised when they were not told to leave. Another couple of students unfurled another banner that read "Neo-Liberalism=Neo-Colonialism" on the other side of Martin. They stood there during his entire talk with Martin acknowledging their presence a couple of times.

Pictures:
1
2

» continue reading "Paul Martin on Helping Africa"

March 26, 2008 Arts

The Art of Walking

Art project creates blisters and curiosity

March 4, 2008 Weblog:

Tour, Day 4: Halifax

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Our stop in Halifax went by all too quickly. We met up with our co-editor Hillary, said hi to a few dozen people, gave a presentation to what was once again quite a decent turnout.

We didn't really get to hear about anything in enough depth to discuss it, so some mumblings about Lincolnville, HCAP, Cinema Politica, and cool housing coops will have to suffice.

March 2, 2008 Weblog:

Tour, Day 3: Tatamagouche

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For a town of 800 (and by any standard), Tatamagouche has set the bar high for support of the Media Coop. About 15 people came out to our presentation during a blizzard on a Saturday night, and we signed up five sustainers.

Granted, the Media Coop has strong roots in the area, as the folks at Waldegrave farm are good friends of many Dominion editors and supporters since the beginning.

Pictured here is Meghan MacCulloch--who hand-painted a beautiful Dominion banner which will be accompanying us on future stops--sporting her new Dominion t-shirt.

Tatamagouche is home to some strong local organizing, including a regular Cinema Politica Film screening, a local currency, a free school, a cooperatively-run organic farm or two, and much more.

March 1, 2008 Weblog:

Tour, Day 2: Antigonish

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The Own Your Media tour had its first on-time arrival in Antigonish, though we had some stiff competition a Bob Dylan tribute show was playing the same night.

An enthusiastic crowd nonetheless filled up the Antigonish fixture the Tall and Small Café, and peppered us with questions following a longer-than-usual presentation.

We didn't get as much of a chance to hear about local issue, though many told us that the Tar Sands issue found resonance in the region.

We did, however, stay at a farm featured in Briarpatch Magazine's "Alternative Routes" series, thanks to artist-and-resident Fenn, who, along with Tall and Small Proprietor Meghan Peters and St. FX student Jesse Watkins Coady, helped organized the local stop.

Jesse's great-uncle was Moses Coady, the founder of the Coady Institute, an affiliation than many attendees shared.

March 1, 2008 Weblog:

Tour, Day 1: Fredericton

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The first leg of the Own Your Media tour got off to a slow start when copious snow and slow snow plows tacked an extra four hours onto the stretch of road between Montreal and Quebec City. We were forced to reschedule the Fredericton to the following night, but had a brief informal discussion with some students taking a class from Tracy Glynn, our inestimable Fredericton contact.

Tracy has written a number of articles for the Dominion. Go check em out. She's also a tireless local organizer, and she was busy promoting local Cinema Politica screenings, postering for a native solidarity talk in New Brunswick, showing up to intervene at countless discussions, hearings and consultations, and in the recent past, campaigning against the ubiquitous "support our troops" placards and stickers.

Last fall, Tracy and others visited local businesses, asking them to remove "support our troops" stickers from their windows. They pointed out that the stickers were funded by the Department of National Defence and amounted to a pro-war stance. Predictably, the campaign angered some military families, and several members of the group received death threats.

We also met Dana Brown, one of the founders of Citizen's Press www.citizenspress.org, an interesting and promising independent project that, like many others, seems to be on hiatus for the moment.

Alex Corey has also been an organizational force in Fredericton, distributing copies of the tar sands issue downtown and helping promote the Fredericton stop.

» continue reading "Tour, Day 1: Fredericton"

January 28, 2008 Weblog:

Tobique Fed Up With Indian Act

[Press release, passing it on]

For immediate release
January 28, 2008

PRESS RELEASE

The self-determining people of the Tobique First Nation (TFN) are saying loud and clear that we have had enough of the racism and bureaucratic bullying that our community has received from the Department of Indian Affairs since the first Indian Act and the first Indian Reservations were forced upon our people. Why is it that ONLY Indians are forced to live on government-made reservations and under the government-made Indian Act? Why is there no government act or government reservation for the French or Germans etc? Everyone knows why, and it has nothing to do with Indians wanting it that way and everything to do with the theft of our homeland.

Our people are fed up and are organizing to take our self-respect and our self-determination back in order to fulfill our responsibility to the Seventh Generation. We are meeting in order to develop a strategy and an action plan.

Both the strategy and action plan are to create a better and equal relationship with our political and bureaucratic "rulers". A relationship that is based on mutual respect, mutual tolerance, mutual understanding and mutual acceptance. As opposed to how it has been: distrustful, adversarial, confrontational and acrimonious.

The straw that broke the camels back was the recent action by Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) officials to fire the consulting firm that was hired by INAC to assist the Tobique First Nation as it works to straighten out its longstanding financial/fiscal mess.

INAC’s action to fire this consultant firm was done without cause. It was done highhandedly with no prior consultation with neither our community, nor its elected officials nor the consultant firm.

» continue reading "Tobique Fed Up With Indian Act"

November 23, 2007 Weblog:

NS Government Faces Heat Over Anti-Strike Bill

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In one of the more polite demonstrations I've attended, a union coalition lead by the Nova Scotia General Employees Union staged a sidewalk rally of about 500 in front of the province's legislature on Thursday. While members of the crowd, which included a strong contingent of nurses and healthcare workers, heckled Premier Rodney Macdonald's minority government (top pic), the military guard-laden arrival of Nova Scotia's Lt.-Gov Mayann Francis, due to read her first speech from the throne, on the other side of the building was met with no interruption (bottom pic). After Macdonald's assertion that the unions were being "disrespectful" for holding a demonstration during the ceremonial speech from the throne, the union leadership responded by urging demonstrators to remain quiet outside of the legislature while Francis made her speech.

The rally was called in response to a bill due to be introduced by the minority tories banning the right to strike for the 32,000 healthcare workers in Nova Scotia. Macdonald had promised to introduce the bill in May following a one-day strike at a children's hospital in Halifax. The bill seems to be on the verge of being junked as a result of the union campaign, as both the Liberals and NDP have pledged to vote against it, were it to be introduced by the minority government. As a result, Macdonald has admitted he is unwilling to see his government fall as a result of the proposed anti-strike legislation.

Regardless of this apparent defeat, the throne speech outlined the Tory government's plans to establish more publicly funded, private health facilities in the province.

» view more photos in"NS Government Faces Heat Over Anti-Strike Bill"

October 31, 2007 Weblog:

Irvings under fire in NB

Is New Brunswick finally getting tired of having one company own all of its newspapers?

With a new paper starting up and the Conservatives saying that the media monopoly needs to be looked into, NB might just be on the verge of doing something about its little problem.

September 20, 2007 Canadian News

Veterans Say Agent Orange Settlement Falls Short

Government compensation a diversion, say former Gagetown veterans

August 11, 2007 Canadian News

Whitewashing Agent Orange

Green Party Leader decries CANTOX Report

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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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