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November 19, 2008 Weblog:

Barriere Lake: Second Blockade Today

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Kitiganik/Rapid Lake, Algonquin Territory / - The Barriere Lake Algonquins have blocked highway 117 by gathering in the middle of the road, after Quebec police dismantled their log blockades earlier in the day, and have now been put on notice that the Riot Police will arrive momentarily.

Community spokesperson Marylynn Poucachiche has been arrested for obstruction and mischief and is currently detained.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Barriere Lake Algonquins peacefully blockade highway 117 in Northern Quebec a second time: despite fears of more police violence, community wants Quebec and Canada to respect agreements and Canada to end interference in leadership selection

Kitiganik/Rapid Lake, Algonquin Territory / - This morning at 7:30am, Barriere Lake community members of all ages and their supporters once again peacefully blockaded highway 117 outside their reserve, demanding that Quebec and Canada send in negotiators rather than resort to police violence. During the Algonquin's first blockade on October 6th, 2008, Quebec police used tear gas and "pain compliance" techniques against a peaceful crowd that included Elders, youth, and children, arrested nine people, and hospitalized a Customary Councillor after hitting him in the chest with a tear-gas canister, drawing criticism from international human rights groups, the Chiefs of Ontario, and the Christian Peacemakers Team. [ http://blip.tv/file/1391794 ]

» continue reading "Barriere Lake: Second Blockade Today"

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"

November 1, 2008 Weblog:

Credit Crisis and Africa

The Rwandan New Times has an interesting article on how global economic problems are affecting African industry.

The continent’s tourism sector, remittances from abroad and Aid flows will dramatically fall as a result of the global crisis.

“African governments will have to reduce their expenditure because they are not going to get as much aid. Governments should prepare themselves by concentrating on domestic growth to sustain the economies because ultimately even the export market will be affected and there will be reduced sales,” said Betty Maina, Executive Director of the Kenya Association of Manufacturers.

November 1, 2008 Weblog:

Canadian Wins World's "Richest Photographic Prize"

This years Prix Pictet has been won by Montreal born Benoit Aquin.

Aquin won the Prix Pictet with a series of photographs in Northern China focusing on environmental disaster called The Chinese Dust Bowl.

November 1, 2008 Weblog:

Reverse-Urbanization in BC

It seems the usual process of urbanization is going in reverse in BC.

Over 25,000 people have left Vancouver between 2001 and 2006. The areas outside of BC's major metropolitan area have all seen a gain in population.

November 1, 2008 Weblog:

Housing a "Huge Issue" in BC Politics

BC is currently in the midst of a huge election extravaganza. After the Federal Election this month, BC has faced two important provincial by-elections and will soon see municipal elections in Vancouver. A provincial election is set for next year.

Whew!

In the mean time, housing has been creeping in as an important issue.

The NDP made it a major part of their platform in the provincial by-elections calling it a "huge issue" for voters. Mayoral candidates are facing off against condos to address the lack of rental housing. Special groups are pushing for better tenants rights, similar to those in Ontario.

At the same time, the death of a homeless man who was one week away from assisted housing and homeless tent cities have drawn more attention to homelessness in Vancouver.

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 24, 2008 Weblog:

Colombia: Bombs in Bogotá, Minga, General Strike, President fesses up...

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Many things going on in Colombia over the last couple of days, best captured [in English] by the ever articulate Mario Murillo in his post Who is behind today's six bomb blasts in Bogotá?

Mario guides us through some of the happenings, including:

-Six bomb blasts in Bogotá

-The continuation of the Minga led by Indigenous people from Cauca, on the march to Cali, now joined by Indigenous movements from across the country

-A successful general strike

-The ongoing strike by sugar cane cutters

-President Uribe's admittance on CNN that the army fired on Indigenous demonstrators

-The resignation of the head of Colombia's Department of Administrative Security (DAS)

Also worth checking out: The five demands of the Minga. Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzales interview Mario Murillo and Rafael Coicué on Democracy Now! Finally, for Spanish speakers, TV footage of Rafael Coicué on CNN.

Photo: Marching to Cali, day one by Joris van der Sandt

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.

October 23, 2008 Weblog:

Westmount security removes candidate's election signs during election

Election signs get defaced and destroyed at an unparalleled rate in Montreal... but this is the first time I've heard of city officials taking part.

The Communist Party had some election signs up, with slogans like "Canada out of Afghanistan" and "End Canadian Support for Israeli Apartheid". Apparently, Westmount officials took them down.

If this is true, then Westmount has really stepped in it. Defacing or removing election signs is a criminal offense.

--

The press release:

Westmount on warpath against Communist candidate’s election posters

On September 28 & 29 2008, Westmount Public Security removed election posters of Communist Party of Canada candidate BILL SLOAN from public poles in the riding of WESTMOUNT-VILLE-MARIE.

The recently posted signs, duly Authorized by the registered agent of the Party, put forward his positions on Canadian policy concerning Afghanistan and Israel. In one case, "CANADA OUT OF AFGHANISTAN" and the other, "END CANADIAN SUPPORT TO APARTHEID ISRAEL".

The signs were removed by the Westmount administration without giving either the candidate or the Party notice, either before or after the removal. Bill Sloan learned of the City’s actions when the Westmount Independent published a note in its October 7-8, 2008 issue, mentioning that "Offensive" posters had been taken down by Westmont public security

" I called their public security on October 9 and spoke to the Director, Mr. Richard Blondin. He confirmed that his service had indeed removed my posters on September 28 and 29, but did not tell me what they had done with them. He declined to explain for what reasons or under what authority they had acted."

» continue reading "Westmount security removes candidate's election signs during election"

October 22, 2008 Weblog:

Media Democracy Day

There's lots of organizing around Media Democracy Day these days. Things are looking particularly hoppin' in Vancouver, where an long list of speakers and sponsors have been signed up.

October 21, 2008 Weblog:

Canadian Pacific Rail attacked in Toronto- Molotovs and Fires

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The following is a communique posted on various sites and listservs.

[The contents of this post have been removed, due to the potential for police seizures, affecting our ability to continue serving this site. To read the original communiqué, go here.]

October 20, 2008 Weblog:

Real News Network clip on US - Colombia free trade

Nice clip by the Real News Network about the recent mention of Colombia in the US presidential debates.

October 18, 2008 Weblog:

Palestinians Dismantle Isreali Roadblocks

As Palestinian villagers decide to take dismantling the Israeli occupation into their own hands, the Real News Network's Lia Tarachansky speaks to Jesse Rosenfeld on segregation and the West Bank. Checkpoints and roadblocks play a key role in separating Palestinians from Israelis and Israeli appropriated areas, from commercial areas, and from each other. Since the beginning of the second Intifadah in September 2000 the number of checkpoints in the West Bank increased to over 500.

» continue reading "Palestinians Dismantle Isreali Roadblocks"

October 17, 2008 Weblog:

Interview: Indigenous resistance and state repression in Colombia

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Update from Cauca, Colombia: Indigenous resistance and state repression is an 8 minute interview with Manuel Rozental, recorded on the evening of Thursday, October 16th.

Rozental talks about the status of the mobilizations and their significance on a national level, the repression faced by the movement, and the five point agenda being demanded by the communities in resistance.

More info at radio4all.

Photo by Simone Bruno.

October 16, 2008 Weblog:

Activists block the 2010 'Spirit Train'

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By Dan Kellar for Rabble.ca
October 15, 2008

On Sunday October 12, activists from AW@L, Six Nations, Guelph, London, Kitchener, Toronto, Waterloo and Hamilton blocked the Olympic “Spirit Train” on the tracks as it approached Toronto, by locking down on the tracks and occupying a railway bridge.

This highly coordinated and well executed non-violent action was taken in solidarity with the Olympic Resistance Network of British Columbia, the Native Youth Movement of the Coast Salish People, and the Anti-Poverty Committee of Vancouver, who have called for actions against the Spirit Train and all 2010 Olympic related activities.

The non-violent action to block the Spirit Train was a resounding success as our goal to have national media coverage that actually spoke about the true issues surrounding the Olympics was met. Hopefully we have inspired others to take action as well. More and more people are gaining an understanding that the Olympics in general, and more specifically the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, are no longer about sports and culture, they are about profit for a small elite and wide scale environmental destruction through development of stolen First Nations land.

Canadian Pacific (CP) called the action a "serious safety risk", though no train was within five kilometres of the blockade as scouts were tracking the progression of the train from Sudbury. Also, the lock down team had full safety control of the situation by using a self-release device. CP followed their pre-set safety precautions and no one was ever put in danger.

» continue reading "Activists block the 2010 'Spirit Train'"

October 15, 2008 Weblog:

Obama's Ground Game: you can't go back

Al Giordano: If Obama wins, what next?

What will become of 10,000-plus (mostly) young organizers earning their subsistence keep working on this campaign after Election Day?

They've been trained well in the resurrected art of community organizing. It would be a shame if they just up and went to grad school instead of applying their new trade. How do we help make sure they don't scatter to the wind and can instead continue harnessing it in harmony with the new political majority about to emerge?

October 15, 2008 Weblog:

Morning After Talking Points

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CKUT's Wednesday Morning After invited me to come and talk about the elections bright and early this morning. Voici mes talking points, albeit in more articulate form, not that I got to all of them:

  • Proportional representation is on a lot of people's minds, but it's not going to happen. If it can't be passed at a provincial level (so far, BC, PEI and Ontario have voted no) then it won't happen nationally, as neither the Libs or Cons will be likely to support it (this is an interesting footnote, though).
  • If that's true, the Green Party has to do some thinking at this point. A spot in the debates, more media coverage than ever, no seats.
  • No matter who people vote for, indications are that we're not going to see anything even beginning to address colonial policies in Canada.

» continue reading "Morning After Talking Points"

October 14, 2008 Weblog:

Olmert Admits Israel Must Withdraw

Israel/Palestine- Ehud Olmert passes leadership of the Kadima Party to Tzipi Livni and leaves a challenging legacy. In comments he made during an interview with Israeli newspaper Yediot Ahronot, Olmert admits Israel must withdraw from areas of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and even the Golan Heights, an area at the center of the Israeli-Syrian dispute.

» continue reading "Olmert Admits Israel Must Withdraw"

October 14, 2008 Weblog:

Update - massacre 'imminent': Indigenous uprising continues in Colombia

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This just in from Mario Murillo:

"...all the communities gathered in the locality of La Maria, in the department of Cauca, are completely surrounded by the Colombian Army. Apparently, the security forces are preparing to carry out an armed assault against the civilians involved in the protest, which began on Sunday, October 12th. Organizers estimate that there are over 10,000 people currently at La Maria and surrounding areas."

After a two-day minga, or popular mobilization which included the participation of over 12,000 people in the Cauca region of Colombia, Indigenous movements are continuing to maintain highway blockades and demand justice and reparations.

From today's communiqué:

"We are risking life for liberty. We have dignity and we reclaim respect. The order that has obligated to take these actions is violent. We are not prepared to continue dying alive. No More."

Other sectors have announced or enacted their solidarity with the Indigenous uprising in Cauca including workers' unions, and the striking sugar cane sector. They are currently asking folks to put pressure on the Colombian government to ensure that their resistance is not met with brute force. Update: your support is urgently needed. Please take a moment to write or fax the Colombian ambassador, Jaime Girón Duarte.

To contact the Colombian Embassy in Canada:

360 Albert Street, Suite 1002
Ottawa, ON. - K1R 7X7
Tels: (613) 230-3760/1
Fax: (613) 230-4416
Email: embajada@embajadacolombia.ca

October 13, 2008 Weblog:

PHOTO: Solidarity Blockade Slows Spirit Train

By Lia Tarachansky and Jesse Freeston

Vaughan, ON- On Thanksgiving Sunday, October 12th, 2008 roughly two dozen protesters blockaded the Canadian Pacific Rail just north of Toronto.

The blockade began at 5:30 p.m. and ended just after 8:00 p.m. Winnie Small, 20, attached herself to the rails in order to delay removal by police.

Alex Hundert, police liaison for the varied group of protesters, negotiated with the local police service, which was taken by surprise by the bridge blockade.

The group, consisting of Anti-War @ Laurier organizers, native organizers from the Six Nations reservation by Caledonia, and various individuals, was allowed to leave the blockade without arrests or conflict.

According to the police, who were in communications with CP rail on site, the blockade caused millions of dollars of economic damage and delayed trains all along the rail line.

Please stay tuned for The Real News Network video report later this week


Blockaders Set up lock down


Winnie Small, 20, locked down to the tracks with a "v" shaped metal bar


"No Olympics on Stolen Native Land" banner laid out by protesters

» continue reading "PHOTO: Solidarity Blockade Slows Spirit Train"

October 12, 2008 Weblog:

The Anti-Terrorist Battle Inside Canada's Borders

The anti-terrorist battle inside Canada's borders
by David Parker
July 17th, 2008.

HALIFAX - In Canada since 9/11, the domestic climate of rising national security fears, fanned by a sensationalist media trumpeting the “War on Terror”, has led the government to justify practices which undermine long-standing principles of human rights.

In December 2001, Canada passed the Anti-Terrorist Act (ATA) to deal with threats to national security. The ATA makes changes to the criminal code that “aim to disable and dismantle the activities of terrorist groups and those who support them”. It destroys civil liberties and gives police vast new powers, eroding due process and privacy. [1]

According to Gary Kinsman, professor at Laurentian University, the concept of ‘national security’ is doubly problematic. Nation refers here to groups who fit the image of the Canadian state - white heterosexual males, construed as ‘safe’, while racialized communities are excluded as ‘outsiders’ and enemies of the state. [2] Despite purported concern with security, state initiatives have only endangered non-citizens and criminalized legitimate social protest.

The arrest of 21 South Asian Muslim men for allegedly plotting to blow up a nuclear reactor in 2003 (known as Project Thread) garnered wide media attention. All were eventually deported on minor immigration charges, not one was charged with a terrorist offence [3]. They were detained up to 5 months, interrogated about their faith and threatened with deportation to Guantanamo Bay, infamous torture camp of the United States, where Omar Khadr, youngest detainee and Canadian citizen, remains after 6 years, subjected to torture methods detailed in leaked FBI files [4].

» continue reading "The Anti-Terrorist Battle Inside Canada's Borders"

October 12, 2008 Weblog:

Criminalizing Indigenous Rights in Canada

Criminalizing Indigenous Rights in Canada
David Parker
September 8th, 2008.

HALIFAX - In September of 2007, the United Nations adopted the non-binding Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Four high profile countries notably voted against the declaration - namely Canada, the United States, Australia and New Zealand.[1] All four countries are states that were established by white settlers on indigenous lands, and all four are currently in disputes with indigenous peoples over land and sovereignty.

The Canadian state, built on the theft and occupation of indigenous lands, continues to benefit from its unjustly acquired assets. Equipped with an ultra-security state apparatus, Canada's repressive and suppressive anti-terrorist and security measures have historically struck hardest against those that have the most to gain, namely aboriginal nations and their legitimate claims for their rights to land and dignity.

Recent cases of indigenous protest in Ontario have been in opposition to government authorized resource extraction on native lands. Despite legitimate demands for sovereignty and decision-making power over their traditional lands, native protesters have been incarcerated: Robert Lovelace and the KI-6 (6 council members of Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug First Nation) have received harsh fines and 6 months in jail for peacefully protesting against mineral exploration on the lands of KI and Ardoch Algonquin First Nation (AAFN).

» continue reading "Criminalizing Indigenous Rights in Canada"

October 11, 2008 Weblog:

Chiefs of Ontario intervene for Barriere Lake

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Chiefs of Ontario intervene on behalf of Barriere Lake Algonquins.

Please see attached

October 9, 2008 Weblog:

Video: Algonquin Blockade Attacked by Police

NOTE: NORMAN MATCHEWAN, SPOKESPERSON FOR THE BARRIERE LAKE ALGONQUINS WAS PUBLISHED TODAY IN THE MONTREAL GAZETTE!

» continue reading "Video: Algonquin Blockade Attacked by Police"

October 8, 2008 Weblog:

CP Spirit Train will roll into Cooksville GO Station on Thanksgiving weekend

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TORONTO, Oct. 8, 2008 /CNW/ - On Monday, October 13, the Canadian Pacific Spirit Train will bring Olympic spirit to the Cooksville GO Station and surrounding community with a free festival from 1:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Six-time Juno award winner Colin James headlines the event, while Olympic and Paralympic athletes bring the excitement of the games to this traveling outdoor festival promoting the Vancouver 2010 Games.

GO Transit is proud to have the Cooksville GO Station in Mississauga as the location for this festival stop. "We are happy to work with Canadian Pacific and help encourage national pride for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games," said GO Transit Managing Director Gary McNeil.

This free, all day event has something for the entire family to enjoy from musical performances to interacting with Olympic and Paralympic athletes. Visitors can also enjoy many activities and explore various exhibits. The Kids' Zone will offer workshops where families and kids can build their own mini Olympic wooden Inukshuks in honour of the Vancouver Olympic emblem. Other activities include trying out sledge hockey, a challenging Paralympic sport, or creating a video postcard message for Canadian athletes at the video booth.

For more information on the CP Spirit Train village, please visit
www.cpspirittrain.com for up-to-date event details, including concert and performance schedules, and an in-depth look at CP's historical involvement with the Olympics.

» continue reading "CP Spirit Train will roll into Cooksville GO Station on Thanksgiving weekend"

October 8, 2008 Weblog:

Active duty military force deployed to patrol US streets

The 3rd Infantry Division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team has been deployed to streets in the US. Amy Goodman has an excellent piece about the underreported shift of US soldiers from Iraq to US streets.

In December 2001, in the midst of restricted access to bank accounts due to a financial crisis, respectable, middle-class Argentines rose up, took to the streets, smashed bank windows and ultimately forced the government out of power, despite a massive police crackdown and a failed attempt to control the media. Here in the U.S., with the prospect of a complete failure of our financial system, the people have spoken and do not want an unprecedented act of corporate welfare. We don’t know how close the system is to collapse, nor do we know how close the people are to taking to the streets. The creation of an active-duty military force, the sea-smurfs, that could be used to suppress public protest here at home is a very bad sign.

October 8, 2008 Weblog:

Credit Crisis Claims Iceland

Iceland is nearing economic collapse as its second largest bank has been nationalized by the government.

The most free-market of the Nordic countries, it seems as if Iceland has been too heavily involved in the credit markets for the last 15 years. The Guardian reports:

Inflation and interest rates are raging upwards. The krona, Iceland's currency, is in freefall and is rated just above those of Zimbabwe and Turkmenistan. One of the country's three independent banks has been nationalised, another is asking customers for money, and the discredited government and officials from the central bank have been huddled behind closed doors for three days with still no sign of a plan. International banks won't send any more money and supplies of foreign currency are running out.

In a telling turn of events, Iceland has had to get a loan from cash-rich Russia to help stave off collapse. The Prime Minister of Iceland has reportedly stated,

"We have been calling for aid from neighboring countries and have been turned down. In times of crisis, one has to look for new friends."

October 8, 2008 Weblog:

Why $700 billion Won't Work

Nouriel Roubini, one of the economists who successfully predicted the subprime crisis years ago, has been allowing full access for the time being to his blog: RGE Monitor.

Roubini, once considered a perma-bear (a perpetual pessamist about the economy) has recently looked at banking crises historically to find the best way to prevent a total economic meltdown.

Surprise, surprise, he found that the US $700 billion plan may not be the best way to go. Instead, he suggests that the way Scandinavian countries (Norway, Sweden, Finland) dealt with previous crises, may be the better method.

To understand how this works on a more understandable level, Planet Money, a spin-off of the award winning radio show This American Life has been putting out some great radio about the credit crisis and solutions.

October 7, 2008 Weblog:

Tories on the Ropes?

Could Conservative fortunes have run out?

The impending economic problems in the US have caused many Canadians to turn to other parties. While the Conservatives are still leading nationally, they are behind the 8-ball in Ontario for the first time in months. The Liberals are leading by nearly nine percent.

In Quebec, the Conservatives have slipped to third, just two percent ahead of the NDP. The Bloc are leading.

In BC, the Tories are in a dead heat with the NDP.

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