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July 14, 2009 Weblog:

Stuff White People Like: NDP Federal Convention

Our friends at Rabble bring us news that the latest NDP convention in Halifax this August will be a pretty white affair.

As can be gleamed from the convention speakers: "7 out of 7 featured speakers at the convention are white; 6 of them are men. 9 out of 9 headshots are of white people. For that matter 18 out of the 18 people pictured on this page are white. Seriously?"

While appealing to people of colour has rarely been at the top of the NDP agenda it's pretty amazing to see them totally absent from a major NDP convention. Especially considering organizers were able to squeak in an NHL defenceman and his Carbon Neutral Challenge.

June 29, 2009 Canadian News

Riot Police in School Yards Prompt Demonstration

Youth not the problem, say protesters

June 5, 2009 Business

A Harbour For War?

The defence industry grows in Halifax

April 19, 2009 Sexuality

Valentine's Play

Reflections from a women’s bathhouse

April 1, 2009 Weblog:

NSPIRG, the Stop NSPIRG campaign, and the Dalhouise Student Union

Live Blogging from the Dalhousie Student Union Annual General Meeting (Part Deux)

Does the fate of NSPIRG hang in the balance?

April 1st, 2009

Dalhousie Student Union Building, MacInnes Auditorium

Halifax.

6:32 pm - People are filing into the room. Approximately 40 pizzas have arrived, and they are being eaten as quickly as they are brought in. Attendance is at least 100 students, media, Sodexho staff, security, and others. The auditorium is three quarters full.

6:45 pm - Some students have faces painted from the carnival and concert, held earlier in the day in front of the Killam library, featuring bands, stilt walkers, clowns, and more. The line-up, according to Shannon Zimmerman (incoming DSU president), extends out to first floor lobby and out the front door.

6:57 pm - Mat Brechtel, chair of the meeting, has begun his preamble. "There was a tool called the challenge to the chair that was abused at the last meeting (March 11th).... It is not intended to procedurally do what you democratically cannot do. I encourage you all to achieve your democratic ends, through the use of a vote."

7:03: From the back of the room in the press booth, it looks like all the chairs are full.

7:28 pm - DSU Vice President Education Mark Coffin is presenting his portfolio, consisting mostly of lobbying nationally and provincially through CASA and ANSSA. Tony Seed, editor of Shunpiking Magazine and former candidate of the Marxist-Leninist Party, sitting beside me, says the lobbying model is selling out students' interests.

» continue reading "NSPIRG, the Stop NSPIRG campaign, and the Dalhouise Student Union"

March 29, 2009 Weblog:

Book Review: Zapatismo Beyond Borders

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For artists, songwriters, storytellers, and dreamers that are reading this, you are in luck. Creativity has won out against the darkness and monotony of neoliberalism. Imagination is revolutionary. The world has good reason to hope. The affirmative and liberatory project of the Zapatistas has spread its message around the globe: un otro mundo es posible. This credo can guide our imaginations onto new terrains, but the work of building and constructing worlds remains in front of us, daunting and formidable. How do we move forward, and what weapons will our creativity arm us with? Alex Khasnabish gives us some guidance in his book, but choices remain to be taken, and we will measure our success only from the viewpoint of the end of a lifetime of imaginative struggle.

Zapatismo Beyond Borders: New Imaginations of Political Possibility (Alex Khasnabish, University of Toronto Press, 2008) explores the transnational resonance of Zapatismo - the guiding principles, tactics and beliefs of the Zapatistas - that has invigorated and inspired social activism and anti-capitalist struggles in North America. Khasnabish is a professor of sociology and anthropology at Mount St. Vincent University and Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The book comes on the heels of his recent papers “A Tear in the Fabric of the Present” in the Journal for the Study of Radicalism (2009) and “Insurgent Imaginations” in Ephemera: Theory and Politics in Organization (2007), among other essays. Khasnabish's style reads like an academic thesis: rigorously documented, lengthy citations, and careful argumentation. Most accessible to academics, readers may find themselves wishing for a more palatable and digestible read.

» continue reading "Book Review: Zapatismo Beyond Borders"

March 28, 2009 Weblog:

Students Battle Over Nova Scotia PIRG

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HALIFAX – “We need to trust that people will be honest”, said Mat Brechtel, chair of the Dalhousie Student Union (DSU), referring to a ballot vote after two votes by hand count had failed to determine whether or not a motion concerning the Nova Scotia Public Interest Research Group (NSPIRG) would be added to the meeting's agenda. Brechtel was chairing the DSU's Annual General Meeting to a packed auditorium of 200 students.

The motion called on the DSU to make NSPIRG vacate their offices within 30 days, that NSPIRG make a public apology for "wasting students' money," and also stated that all funds should be with held from NSPIRG and held in trust by the DSU.

The issue of whether the student-funded social justice organization NSPIRG should continue to receive funding was the hot debate item of the evening. Though the item was added to the agenda, it now needs to be voted on by the Dalhousie student body at a subsequent general meeting, to be held April 1st in the Dalhousie Student Union Building at 6:30 pm. It will require a simple majority of 50 percent plus one to either pass or fail.

The meeting began with a tightly controlled security check at the doors of the McInnes Room, the auditorium where the AGM was held. As per orders of DSU President, Courtney Larkin, no non-Dalhousie students were allowed into the AGM, including NSPIRG members and a staff, despite precedence during past AGMs.

According to supporters of NSPIRG inside the meeting, several non-students were still in attendance, including former members of the DSU council and executive.

» continue reading "Students Battle Over Nova Scotia PIRG"

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March 7, 2009 Canadian News

Justice Served Cold

Four Atlantica arrestees declare police and prison mistreatment

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"

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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 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 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.

February 4, 2009 Weblog:

Halifax Media Co-op, Day 1

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The Dominion's first day of a month-long Media Co-op tour in Halifax, it's inaugural city, was all about getting the presentation together in time for a slew of speaking events, scheduled throughout February in different Halifax neighbourhoods. We did not have to look very far to find examples of media that do not serve the people.

November 8, 2008 Weblog:

Life threatening decision to close Halifax shelter gets direct action response

On Monday November 3rd, Halifax Coalition Against Poverty (HCAP) members and supporters occupied the Halifax office of Nova Scotia Department of Community Services (DCS) for deciding not to fund Pendleton Place, a “harm reduction” shelter located in the basement of St. Patrick’s Church in Halifax. The closure was a move that one local housing activist, Paul O'Hara, described as a “life and death” decision gone the wrong way, and many more have made clear there will be a high risk of serious injury or death on the streets of Halifax this winter as a consequence.

“As long as DCS will commit poor people in our community to death, HCAP will refuse to allow business as usual within the Department.", stated HCAP as the action was underway

During the occupation, HCAP members and supporters numbered over a dozen. At 10 am they entered the DCS offices, occupying the space and stating – with megaphones blaring – their opposition to the closure of the shelter and demands for affordable housing. The occupation lasted approximately an hour. One DCS employee who was particularly sought after was an upper level bureaucrat, Lynn Brogan, regarded as having been in the position to have prevented the closure of Pendleton Place.

» continue reading "Life threatening decision to close Halifax shelter gets direct action response"

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.

January 8, 2008 Foreign Policy

Endorsing Death Squad Economics

Canada's Lightning Speed Trade Negotiations with Colombia

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 1, 2007 Month in Review

September in Review

GM on strike, uranium mining, 1.2 million dead in Iraq

August 4, 2007 Canadian News

AFN Supports Direct Action?

Day of Action discussed, criticized at AFN General Assembly

July 1, 2007 Business

Welcome to Ambiguica

Round Two of the Atlantica Debate

December 19, 2004 Environment

Buy Nothing Year

Matt Watkins is living without money for a year, to test some ideas about the infectiousness of generosity. Hillary Lindsay asks him about it.

Matt Watkins' quest to want not, waste not

July 26, 2003 Arts

Caution: Extreme Shakespeare in Halifax

Generally I am not a person who plans elaborate activities of merriment on calendar holidays. But, once and a while, an opportunity to celebrate gives me that tingling feeling and I am compelled to go out and join the party. It was that kind of crazed motivation that got me out of bed at 3:15 a.m. on July 1 to watch A Midsummer Night's Dream on the wharf of Casino Nova Scotia in Halifax. - by Sylvia Nickerson -

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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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