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Cooling the climate crisis – and the economy – in 2023

Rabble - Fri, 01/27/2023 - 03:30

This week on rabble radio, we feature a segment from our most recent Off the Hill political panel. This month, our theme was ‘Off the Hill: Will 2023 be a year of competing crises? On climate and the economy.’

Off the Hill takes a deep dive into the politics of cooling the economy – and the planet – as Parliament returns. The Canadian parliament returns on January 30. The spotlight is on the economy and the impact on Canadians. Our panel will unpack the critical issues related to the economic outlook and the climate emergency. 

Our January panel included MP Leah Gazan, Jim Stanford, Clayton Thomas-Müller and Karl Nerenberg. Hosted by Robin Browne and Nick Seebruch. 

About our guests

Leah Gazan is Member of Parliament for Winnipeg Centre. She is currently the NDP critic for Children, Families, and Social Development, as well as the deputy critic for Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship. Leah is a member of Wood Mountain Lakota Nation, located in Saskatchewan, Treaty 4 territory.

Jim Stanford is an economist and the director of the Centre for Future Work. He previously served as economist and director of policy with Unifor.

Clayton Thomas-Müller is a member of the Treaty #6-based Mathias Colomb Cree Nation, also known as Pukatawagan, located in Northern Manitoba. He is an Indigenous activist, campaigner and public speaker. He is also the author of Life in the City of Dirty Water.

Karl Nerenberg is an award-winning journalist, broadcaster and filmmaker, working in both English and French languages. He is rabble’s parliamentary correspondent and a regular panelist on Off the Hill.

If you like the show please consider subscribing on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you find your podcasts. And please, rate, review, share rabble radio with your friends — it takes two seconds to support independent media like rabble. Follow us on social media across channels @rabbleca. 

The post Cooling the climate crisis – and the economy – in 2023 appeared first on rabble.ca.

Categories: F. Left News

CELAC 2023-Latin American Integration Includes The Voices Of The People

Popular Resistance - Thu, 01/26/2023 - 18:14

Founded in 2011, CELAC, or the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, is a multilateral group of 33 countries from across the Western Hemisphere that excludes Canada and the United States It was created to be an alternative forum for Latin American countries. Inaugural leaders, such as Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez, envisioned the group as a counterweight to the Washington-based Organization of American States (OAS), which they viewed as dominated by the United States. CELAC, unlike the OAS, allows Cuba to be a member. Its stated goals are to promote regional integration and cooperation. CELAC represents 600 million people.

The Seventh Summit of CELAC leaders was held Tuesday, January 24 in Buenos Aires hosted by CELAC President Pro-Tempore Alberto Fernandez, current President of Argentina.

The post CELAC 2023-Latin American Integration Includes The Voices Of The People appeared first on PopularResistance.Org.

Categories: F. Left News

Postmedia closes 12 community newspapers in Alberta

Rabble - Thu, 01/26/2023 - 14:55

The chronic but never quite fatal decline of Postmedia has to be slowest-motion trainwreck in Canadian history.

At this rate, the company will still be losing money churning out AI-written columns by virtual columnists with names like David, Rick and Don explaining why climate change isn’t a thing long after all human life on earth has been extinguished by global heating. 

There’s probably a sci-fi story with legs in that scenario for some newly laid-off Postmedia hack hoping to kick-start a promising new career in a more respectable fiction genre. 

Don’t knock it, similar predictions have come true. 

Back in 2000, when your blogger was still on strike against the Calgary Herald, some wit put out a fake edition of the National Post with a story that promised the company (then known as Southam) would go green and “save thousands of hectares of Alberta forest by merging the Calgary Herald and the National Post.”

After all, said the four-pager handed out to bewildered passersby at Toronto’s Pearson Airport, the Herald and the Post basically ran the same stories anyway. 

We thought it was a joke. Who knew this would all come true in a few years – with the virtual twist that the Internet would make even lousier paperless papers possible? 

Now it’s 2023 and the foundering newspaper chain is still in business – it’s principal business, one assumes, being giving big bonuses to executives, because it sure as hell isn’t very good at running newspapers. 

Last week, we learned Postmedia is about to kill off yet another dozen community newspapers in Alberta by converting them to “digital-only formats” – you know, just like this blog, only in many cases I’d be willing to bet, with considerably fewer readers. The switch to digital is supposed to take place on February 27. 

The list includes some venerable titles that have been bringing news to Albertans for generations. 

The Toronto-based, U.S.-owned newspaper chain didn’t put out a news release or make a formal announcement, as you might have expected. The word got around after the Canadian Press got hold of a memorandum to staff saying so long to so many.

In a virtual “townhall” for hapless employees facing the chop – a recording of which was leaked to the Globe and Mail – Postmedia CEO Andrew MacLeod made the usual excuses for the coming cuts. 

“We need to have our costs be more in balance with the revenue environment that we find ourselves in,” he said, which is what newspaper executives always say when their increasingly shabby and uninformative product loses even more readers and advertisers to the Internet.

The company did announce later in the day that it has finally sold off the huge and nearly derelict Calgary Herald Building on the east side of Deerfoot Trail – once upon a time the most fabulous newspaper plant in Canada, maybe the world, complete with a state-of-the-art vacuum tube system for moving award-winning stories from the newsroom to the pressroom – for a piddling $17.5 million. It took more than a decade to find a buyer willing to pay that much. 

With high irony, the red brick mausoleum that looms over Cowtown’s rush hour traffic on the north-south freeway was sold to U-Haul Co., which can now rent trailers to Herald reporters to take their notes and desktop family photos home. 

Postmedia has now reached the point where there would not be much point continuing to publish anything were it not for federal government subsidies and the aforementioned executive bonuses. 

Postmedia reported last week that it lost $15.9-million in its first quarter, which for some reason ends on November 30, compared with a loss of $4.4-million in the same period a year earlier. 

The company said that revenue from advertising and circulation were down 5.9 per cent and 5.4 per cent in the quarter. The only part of its business that turned a profit was its parcel-delivery service.

So, for now, Postmedia will continue to print 19 newspapers in Alberta – four dailies in Calgary and Edmonton and 15 smaller community newspapers. 

It was obvious at the time Postmedia snapped up many Alberta community newspapers that this was going to end badly – and now that prediction is being played out.

Speaking of U-Hauls, there was also word that the U.S.-owned newspaper corporation is sending its few remaining reporters in Saskatchewan home to work from their apartments, thus dumping the cost of running a premises in which to do business on their remaining underpaid hacks.

You can expect the same thing to happen in Calgary as soon as U-Haul moves into its iconic new facility. 

The dozen newspapers that will be newspapers no more – and won’t be very good websites either, since they’ll be filled with the same drivel that appears on all of Postmedia’s other websites – include some storied names.

They are: 

–       Drayton Valley Western Review
–       Airdrie Echo
–       Peace Country News
–       Fort McMurray Today
–       Leduc County Market
–       Cochrane Times
–       Bow Valley Crag and Canyon
–       Cold Lake Sun
–       Hanna Herald
–       Vermilion Standard
–       Pincher Creek Echo
–       Whitecourt Star

In March 1999, according to the last edition of the Calgary Herald’s internal telephone directory published before the eight-month strike that began in November that year, there were 166 individual human beings employed in the paper’s editorial department alone!

This doesn’t count those employed in administration, advertising, building services, distribution, electronic pre-press, financial services, human resources, marketing, paper make-up, plate-making, the press room, reader sales and services, security, sundry smaller departments, the cafeteria, and, I kid you not, the staff daycare.

The paper they put out had its flaws, but all in all it was pretty good. 

I doubt Postmedia employs 166 people in all of Alberta today. It would be considerable understatement to say its remaining papers are not so good. 

At the end of the eight-month Calgary Herald strike in June 2000, with the union busted and most of us strikers taking buy-outs rather than return to that place, it seemed to me to be not just a rout, but a personal and professional catastrophe. 

I’m very grateful now, though, to have left the newspaper business when I did, when there was still time for a just transition out of journalism.

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Categories: F. Left News

Premier Doug Ford should explain why he underfunds public health care

Rabble - Thu, 01/26/2023 - 14:31

Fighting over health care privatization is a familiar Canadian sport, but Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s current privatization push feels different.

It’s more ambitious and forthright. And, in a new twist, commentators seem to be piling on his bandwagon, insisting that we gotta do things differently, ridiculing the Canadian reverence for public health care, even suggesting that it amounts to some sort of cult.

Our public health-care system is struggling, and we’re told that the only way to fix it is to boldly, innovatively expand the role of the private sector.

Another possibility is that our public health care system is struggling because the Ford government is starving it of funds, and the way to fix it is for Ford to inject those funds.

Ontario is one of the richest provinces, but it spends less per person on health care than any other province. Please explain why, Premier.

If Ontario just spent the average of what the other provinces have spent on health care per capita over the past five years, we’d be spending an additional $7.2 billion this year — more than enough to properly pay our beleaguered nurses, lure thousands more nurses to Ontario and bring back into use countless hospital operating rooms all over the province idled by years of budget cuts.

Why opt for new private surgical clinics when we’ve got ample surgical facilities sitting empty in our hospitals?

Instead, Ford bizarrely insists on capping nurses’ pay increases at a punitive one per cent, denying reasonable compensation to people who hold the key to reviving the system.

Ontario is in relatively good financial shape and could easily invest more in health care, says Sheila Block, a senior economist with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.

Instead, Ford squanders money on tax breaks, giving up $8.2 billion in revenue annually from tax changes since 2018. And, when he gets additional health care funds from Ottawa in the upcoming federal-provincial deal, he could use those funds for further tax cutting, unless strings are firmly attached, Block notes.

Allowing more private health care won’t solve this underfunding. It will simply mean more health services are carried out by profit-seeking entities that will pocket a share of the public money.

We know about the profit motive — it permeates the business world, driving corporate managers to slash costs in evermore innovative ways so they can deliver ever-larger profits to shareholders.

Presumably we can expect a softer, gentler version of the profit motive in the health care field — right?

Oh, but wait, no!

It turns out Ontario has carried out what amounts to a real-life experiment on the impact of the profit motive in health care — in the case of long-term care homes, where private equity and other innovative forms of cutthroat capitalism have had free rein.

This real-life lab reveals that the profit motive operates pretty much the same in health care as in the corporate world: it has transformed nursing homes into lucrative businesses and, during the pandemic, into killing fields.

Indeed, given that COVID death rates were four times higher in profit-making long-term care homes, it’s odd that commentators aren’t crying: “we gotta do something different!”

Public health care has a deep intrinsic value; it isn’t just one possible option, to be considered along with private health care.

Rather, public health care is the goal — just as public education is the goal when it comes to education — because these two public systems organize vital parts of our lives around the profoundly important principle of equality and accessibility for all.

It’s that commitment to equality — utterly lacking in the marketplace that increasingly dominates our lives — that elevates these public systems to places of honour in our society, that makes them sources of inspiration of what we can achieve together as a nation.

Instead of protecting our precious public health-care system, Ford wants to let the profit motive rip through it. We don’t so much have a health care crisis as a Doug Ford crisis.

The post Premier Doug Ford should explain why he underfunds public health care appeared first on rabble.ca.

Categories: F. Left News

Targeting Eritrea And Ethiopia

Popular Resistance - Thu, 01/26/2023 - 11:55

United States plans for aggression and disruptions abroad are developed by current and former officials whose names may not be well known. They often leave government positions to become fellows at a plethora of think tanks that are connected to high level policy makers. It is important to know what they are saying, as their words have an impact on US foreign policy decisions.

Michael Rubin is currently a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) , the rightwing think tank in Washington, DC, that mostly disseminates a neoconservative interventionist agenda, and where Rubin spends his time churning out misleading information and lies about the Red Sea State of Eritrea and the Horn of Africa. Rubin was a Pentagon staffer from 2002 to 2004, and an advisor to the Coalition Provisional Authority during America’s disastrous invasion of Iraq in 2003.

The post Targeting Eritrea And Ethiopia appeared first on PopularResistance.Org.

Categories: F. Left News

General Strike Declared In West Bank In Mourning For Nine Palestinians Killed

Popular Resistance - Thu, 01/26/2023 - 11:50

A one-day general strike was declared on Thursday in the occupied West Bank in mourning for the Palestinians who were killed during the brutal Israel aggression on the city of Jenin and camp this morning, the official news agency WAFA reported.

The death toll of the Israeli army raid into the northern occupied West Bank city of Jenin rose to nine and the number of wounded to 20, according to the Health Ministry.

The Palestinian Health Ministry said that nine Palestinians were killed by Israeli army gunfire and 20 others were wounded, including four seriously wounded, during the violent raid into the city and neighboring refugee camp.

The fatalities included an elderly woman, identified as Magda Obaid, 60. Two of the slain youths were identified as Saeb Issam Mahmoud Izreiqi, 24, and Izzidin Yassin Salahat, 26.

The post General Strike Declared In West Bank In Mourning For Nine Palestinians Killed appeared first on PopularResistance.Org.

Categories: F. Left News

Ukraine’s Zelensky Sends Love Letter To US Corporations

Popular Resistance - Thu, 01/26/2023 - 11:45

Ukraine’s Western-backed leader Volodymyr Zelensky sent a love letter to US companies, thanking “such giants of the international financial and investment world as BlackRock, JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs” for buying up his country’s assets.

“Everyone can become a big business by working with Ukraine”, he enticed, claiming that the reconstruction of his nation “will be the largest economic project of our time in Europe”.

Zelensky likewise praised the Starlink company of billionaire Elon Musk for its technological support, and he called for more Western weapons shipments, including Patriot missiles and Abram tanks.

The Ukrainian leader delivered these remarks in a January 23 video address to US corporate lobby group the National Association of State Chambers.

“We are defending freedom and property”, Zelensky declared, portraying the proxy war between NATO and Russia in Ukraine as a battle for the soul of the Western-led capitalist order.

The post Ukraine’s Zelensky Sends Love Letter To US Corporations appeared first on PopularResistance.Org.

Categories: F. Left News

German Foreign Minister Says ‘We Are Fighting A War Against Russia’

Popular Resistance - Thu, 01/26/2023 - 11:41

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said Tuesday that Germany and its allies are “fighting a war against Russia” in rare candid remarks about the Western role in the conflict.

Baerbock made the comments at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, France, while discussing the criticism her government has faced for its hesitancy to send tanks, although that impasse has been broken as Berlin confirmed Wednesday it will send its Leopard 2 tanks.

“And therefore, I’ve said already in the last days — yes, we have to do more to defend Ukraine. Yes, we have to do more also on tanks,” Baerbock said. “But the most important and the crucial part is that we do it together and that we do not do the blame game in Europe, because we are fighting a war against Russia and not against each other.”

The post German Foreign Minister Says ‘We Are Fighting A War Against Russia’ appeared first on PopularResistance.Org.

Categories: F. Left News

Peruvians Protest Against US Embassy In Lima

Popular Resistance - Thu, 01/26/2023 - 11:37

Social movements from across Peru are protesting outside the US embassy in Lima to condemn the US role in the coup against Pedro Castillo. The main chant from protesters is, “Yanqui murderers, get out of Peru!”

“We’re here because we love our country (..) that’s why we’re here outside the US embassy because we know that it was through the US embassy that Dina Boluarte and [Prime Minister] Otarola made deals to be protected by that country,” said one protester from the Sandia province, Puno.

“The US embassy has always tried to control us (..) we’ve had enough of being dominated by the US, we want to be a free country, a free Peru, with sovereignty. We mustn’t surrender, this mobilization is in defense of our natural resources, to close congress, the resignation of Dina Boluarte, a new constitution, general elections”, said another protester to Radio Pachamama.

The post Peruvians Protest Against US Embassy In Lima appeared first on PopularResistance.Org.

Categories: F. Left News

Ukraine War: Those Who Fail To Call For Negotiations, Fail to Understand The Danger Facing The Planet

Popular Resistance - Thu, 01/26/2023 - 11:25

At no time since the Cuban missile crisis has our world has been so close to disaster. As the war in Ukraine approaches its first anniversary, it is being increasingly transformed by the Biden administration and the “collective west” into a war between NATO and Russia. The danger of turning into a nuclear confrontation is imminent.

The 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis was a wake-up call in the midst of Cold War, warning just how close a nuclear World War III could be. Unlike today, both sides sought accommodation. They understood that a retreat from war was in their mutual interest. The Anti-Ballistic Missile and the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaties, now scrapped, were negotiated.

Back then, an international peace movement with a robust US contingent amplified the demand for a peaceful world. Such voices are much diminished now.

The post Ukraine War: Those Who Fail To Call For Negotiations, Fail to Understand The Danger Facing The Planet appeared first on PopularResistance.Org.

Categories: F. Left News

Study Throws New Light On Unfair Practices By Global Fashion Brands

Popular Resistance - Thu, 01/26/2023 - 11:20

A study published this month found that popular international fashion brands with factories in Bangladesh were involved in multiple “unfair practices,” such as paying suppliers below the cost of production, which had an impact on workers and their livelihoods.

The study conducted by Aberdeen University and advocacy group Transform Trade, titled ‘Impact of Global Clothing Retailers’ Unfair Practices on Bangladeshi Suppliers During COVID-19,’ was based on the survey of 1,000 Bangladeshi factories that manufacture garments for international fashion firms. It found that these factories were facing rising costs for raw materials, and nearly one in five struggled to pay the Bangladeshi minimum wage of £2.30 per day.

Professor Pamela Abbott, co-investigator of the study and director of the Center for Global Development at the University of Aberdeen, claimed that fashion brands were extracting their wealth from some of the world’s poorest countries, a form of 21st century neo-colonialism.

The post Study Throws New Light On Unfair Practices By Global Fashion Brands appeared first on PopularResistance.Org.

Categories: F. Left News

Australia Has Not Written To US On Assange For Six Months

Popular Resistance - Thu, 01/26/2023 - 11:15

A Freedom of Information request by a member of the Australian parliament has revealed that the Australian government has not engaged in correspondence with the United States regarding the case of imprisoned publisher Julian Assange for at least the last six months.

Independent MP Monique Ryan filed the requests with the offices of Labor Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, Attorney General Mark Dreyfus and Foreign Minister Penny Wong and no documents were returned, indicating that there has been no written communication with the U.S. over the fate of Assange since at least last May, reported former Australian Senator Rex Patrick in the Australian publication Michael West Media.

The absence of written correspondence does not exclude that Australian officials may have engaged in verbal communications with U.S. counterparts about Assange over the past half year, though written notes are normally made on such meetings.

The post Australia Has Not Written To US On Assange For Six Months appeared first on PopularResistance.Org.

Categories: F. Left News

Johns Hopkins: Grad Student-Workers Mobilize Ahead Of Union Election

Popular Resistance - Thu, 01/26/2023 - 11:10

Back in October, TRNN spoke to graduate student-workers at the prestigious Johns Hopkins University about the growing grassroots effort to unionize grad students under the banner of Teachers and Researchers United. Since then, the union drive has continued to build momentum: After a supermajority of grad student-workers signed union cards in October and November, an official date for the union election has now been set. Eligible bargaining unit members will cast their votes on whether or not to unionize and affiliate with the United Electrical, Radio, and Machine Workers (UE) on Monday, Jan. 30, and Tuesday, Jan. 31. This election comes amid a wave of labor actions that are spreading throughout the world of higher education in the US, with recent and current strikes taking place at the University of California, The New School in New York, the University of Illinois at Chicago, and with other graduate student-worker unionization efforts happening at Northwestern University in Evanston, Northeastern University in Boston, and beyond.

The post Johns Hopkins: Grad Student-Workers Mobilize Ahead Of Union Election appeared first on PopularResistance.Org.

Categories: F. Left News

Let’s talk worker mental health

Rabble - Thu, 01/26/2023 - 08:48

January 25 marked Bell Let’s Talk day, a day many social media users may be familiar with. There is often a plethora of posts supporting mental health initiatives using the Bell Canada’s hashtag #BellLetsTalk. 

For this year’s Bell Let’s Talk day, Unifor, Canada’s largest private sector union, wrote to Bell asking they turn the conversation towards themselves

“Workers at Bell, across all units, experience workplace stress, mental health and illness, and workplace culture in vastly different ways,” reads a letter signed by Unifor National President Lana Payne, National Secretary-Treasurer Len Poirier and Quebec Director Daniel Cloutier. 

The letter states that Unifor is “deeply connected” to Bell workers and other telecommunications workers. They said the 17,500 Unifor members work for Bell Canada or one of its subsidiaries. 

“For these members, workplace stress and other elements that are within Bell’s control such as job security, management practices and disciplinary procedures have been primary bargaining priorities for many years,” the letter reads. 

Mental health cannot be addressed through ad campaigns

Unifor said they want Bell Canada to collect data on mental health within their workplaces and set out a plan to improve mental wellness. 

“The impact of mental illness on the job security and quality of so many Canadian worker’s lives cannot be addressed through advertising campaigns,” the union wrote. 

Bell Canada is not the only workplace that needs to address worker mental wellbeing. A report released last year by Mental Health Research Canada shows that one third of Canadians are feeling burnt out at work

Younger workers are feeling the stress most acutely, with 41 per cent of workers aged 18-34 experiencing burnout. As well, only 51 percent of workers feel the amount of work they are expected to do is often reasonable. Meaning almost half of workers who responded to the survey did not share this opinion.

Amidst high levels of burnout and stress among workers, there have been calls for governments to legislate coverage and support for people who suffer psychological injuries at work. 

For the Manitoba Federation of Labour (MFL), discussions around supporting those whose mental health suffers due to work has just begun. In December, they called on the provincial government to expand Workers Compensation Board of Manitoba coverage to those who suffer mental health injuries at work. 

In Ontario, workers are eligible for support from the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) if you have experienced a mental stress injury that can be shown to have resulted either from a traumatic incident or series of incidents at work that are substantial stressors

However, the WSIB wrote on their website that they generally cannot provide benefits or services for mental stress caused by an employer’s management decisions or actions. These are the actions that affect job demands. 

WorkSafeBC also offers benefits to those who suffer a psychological injury at work in B.C. However, workload and changes in working conditions are not covered. 

MFL President Kevin Rebeck said that coverage for injured workers will help those who are suffering and that is why he is pushing for Manitoba to follow B.C. and Ontario’s example. However, there is another step that employers and governments must take. That step is prevention. 

Prevention of work-related mental illness is possible

Protecting mental wellbeing in the workplace is not impossible. In 2013, the National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace was launched. This standard lays out clear steps for workplaces to maintain wellbeing. 

The National Standard explains that risks to mental health are more likely to arise in situations where job demands consistently exceed worker skill levels or exploit them beyond what would be considered reasonable. 

“Employers aren’t providing adequate staffing levels,” Rebeck said in an interview with rabble.ca. “They’ve piled additional duties on top of workers. They’re asking them to do things that they haven’t had to do before. There isn’t proper training or support… All of these things are contributing factors that lead to people getting mental health injuries at work.”

Many employers have not implemented the National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace, according to Rebeck. He said that doing so can help push forward prevention efforts related to mental health issues. 

“It’s something that we hope more employers will adopt and make sure that they’re living up to,” Rebeck said. “It’s something we’ve been pushing the government to make sure we implement across the public sector as a whole. We’re hopeful that by example, they can then help push it out to the private sector as well.” 

Raising awareness about mental health can be beneficial, but the dialogue surrounding mental health has changed since Bell Let’s Talk day launched in 2010. As Unifor said, advertising campaigns are not the way to address workplace mental wellbeing. Mental wellbeing efforts will only go so far when motivated by corporate profit. Perhaps it is time for employers and governments to take action that prevents psychological injury and supports those who have already suffered harm. 

“I think a smart employer or smart government realizes that it’s not an expense, it’s an investment,” Rebeck said. “Employers who adapt and create safer and healthier workplaces will recruit and retain good workers. For those that don’t, the opposite can happen.”

The post Let’s talk worker mental health appeared first on rabble.ca.

Categories: F. Left News

Only 13 T&R Calls to Action achieved over seven years: report

Rabble - Thu, 01/26/2023 - 07:44

2023 marks the eighth year since the Truth and Reconciliation Commission released a list of 94 Calls to Action, but the Liberal government is making progress on those Calls to Action at a snail’s pace.

The six volume Final Report and Calls to Action, published in December 2015, painted a roadmap to reconciliation, one that’s been little more then lip service.

Speaking of lip service, 2022 saw the papal apology during a visit to Canada, recognizing the Catholic Church’s leadership in the implementation and abuses of the residential school system.

A December 2022 report by the Yellowhead Institute concluded there remains a “tremendous amount” to be done from health, education, and child welfare to justice and Indigenous languages to advance reconciliation.

The 49-page report noted that 13 Calls have been completed. At this rate, it will take 42 years, or until 2065, to complete all the Calls to Action.

When the Truth and Reconciliation Commission released their findings in 2015, they characterized the legacy of the residential school system as “cultural genocide,” a term that became the subject of scrutiny by politicians and media alike.

But by October 2022, in the wake of the discovery of unmarked graves of Indigenous children on sites of former residential schools, a milestone was reached in the House of Commons when NDP MP Leah Gazan moved for the federal government to recognize the history of Canada’s Indian Residential Schools as genocide. The motion received unanimous consent.

September 30 is now recognized as the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. 

But the glacial pace with which the government is approaching these Calls is sending a message to Indigenous communities that it’s not a priority.

A closer look at the 94 Calls to Action

There are two categories of Calls to Action and it’s clear which one has become the favourite of the federal government. 

The first 42 are known as Legacy Calls to Action, which address inequalities in child welfare, education, health, culture and language, and justice. The report notes many of the Legacy Calls to Action “aim to end injustices that Indigenous peoples are still experiencing.”

The rest are known as Reconciliation Calls to Action, made up mostly of inclusion and education efforts.

Report contributors Dr. Eva Jewell and Dr. Ian Mosby called out the failure of the federal government to implement Calls to Action that help further other Calls.

“Part of the answer, of course, is that the data is often at odds with the government’s own narrative of progress,” Jewell and Mosby write.

Call to Action 2 is just one example. It requires all levels of government to make public data related to Indigenous children in the child welfare system through an annual report.

“This lack of transparency makes it difficult, if not impossible, to take the government’s own claims regarding their progress on the Calls to Action seriously,” they add.

Without the dissemination of that critical information, Jewell and Mosby conclude, there won’t be enough data to accurately measure whether many of these Legacy Calls to Action have been completed.

The first, Call to Action 67, saw the Canadian Museums Association open a national review of museum policies and best practices in order to determine their compliance with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). 

Meanwhile, Call to Action 70 urged the Canadian Association of Archivists to undertake a similar national review, as well releasing a reconciliation framework for Canadian archives.

In addition to the two completed Calls to Action, 2022 also saw the introduction of Bill C-29, The National Council for Reconciliation Act. If the bill receives royal assent, it could achieve Call to Action 53.

The Council would be mandated to monitor, evaluate, and report every year on the status of each of the Calls to Action, providing greater oversight and accountability into their completion. It would, according to the report, have the potential to publish data on, and therefore achieve Calls 2, 9, 19, and 30.

The first sentence of the book of reconciliation

AFN National Chief RoseAnne Archibald has said that, “if we were in a chapter of a book on reconciliation — we are, today, on the first sentence of that book.”

Cindy Blackstock agrees. Blackstock is a professor at McGill University’s School of Social Work and serves as the Executive Director of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society.

“The fact that Canada has failed, yet again, to complete any of the Child Welfare Calls to Action in 2022 should give us pause,” Blackstock wrote in the report.

Blackstock pointed out that there are currently more Indigenous children in the child welfare system than at the height of the residential school system.

“Instead of being dedicated to reconciliation, Canada’s behaviour shows that they are resisting substantive change, preferring those Calls to Action they can easily perform and that makes them look good,” Blackstock said.

The post Only 13 T&R Calls to Action achieved over seven years: report appeared first on rabble.ca.

Categories: F. Left News

Mike Cardinal, influential minister in Ralph Klein’s cabinet, dies at 81

Rabble - Wed, 01/25/2023 - 08:34

Mike Cardinal, a member of the Alberta Legislature from 1989 to 2008 and an influential minister in Ralph Klein’s Progressive Conservative cabinet, died on Jan. 12. He was 81. 

Melvin Percy Joseph Cardinal, known by all as Mike, was the first Status Indian to hold a cabinet post in Alberta.

He held five portfolios in the Klein Government during the years he served as MLA for Athabasca-Lac La Biche, Athabasca-Wabasca and Athabasca-Redwater, always winning handily.

“I found I had to work twice as hard to get nominated and elected,” Cardinal told the Windspeaker newspaper in 1993, soon after he was appointed to cabinet. As an Indigenous person, he said, “you have to work very hard to get equal with the other guy.”

In 1988, while running for the PCs for the first time, he told Windspeaker that he believed he was the first First Nations citizen to run for the Conservative party. 

“He dedicated himself to improving the lives of people in Alberta, especially Indigenous people,” the obituary written by his family said. “His dream was for our people to be educated, self-sufficient and successful.”

In 1990, while still a backbencher, Cardinal sponsored the Metis Settlements and Land Protection Act, which was intended to give Metis settlements ownership of their land, his Wikipedia entry notes. 

Named family and social services minister in 1992 by Klein, Cardinal also held responsibility for Indigenous Relations during his time in that portfolio.

He served in a variety of cabinet roles until 2008, when he chose not to seek re-election. These included the associate minister of forestry, minister of resource development, minister of sustainable resource development, and minister of human resources and employment (as the labour portfolio was known in those days). 

Cardinal was born in 1941 in the town of Slave Lake into a family of 13. He was the son of a trapper and a homemaker. He dropped out of school in Grade 8 to work but returned later and graduated from Grade 12. Before entering public life, he spent a decade in the Alberta forest and timber industry.

Before his election as an MLA, Cardinal was a town councillor in Slave Lake and a trustee on the board of Northland School Division No. 61 for six years, three of which he was board chair. 

A traditional wake and pipe ceremony was held in Calling Lake on January 19. 

The post Mike Cardinal, influential minister in Ralph Klein’s cabinet, dies at 81 appeared first on rabble.ca.

Categories: F. Left News

Climate crisis? Who knew? Turns out the oil industry did

Rabble - Wed, 01/25/2023 - 08:12

By now, anyone paying attention knows that burning coal, oil and gas has created a crisis that threatens our survival. The scientific evidence — in fields including physics, geography, oceanography, meteorology, chemistry, biology and more — is indisputable. All major scientific institutions and national governments confirm this.

Still, many people continue to deny or downplay the problem. Writers for major media outlets complain about climate “alarmism,” failing to realize that if you aren’t alarmed by what’s happening, you aren’t paying attention.

A dwindling minority of the public prefers to believe industry propaganda over actual science, but it’s often those who aren’t adequately educated or versed in critical thinking, or who fear change. Others understand the threat but ignore it.

Speaking to the latter, climate activist Greta Thunberg said, “To all of you who choose to look the other way every day because you seem more frightened of the changes that can prevent catastrophic climate change than the catastrophic climate change itself: Your silence is worst of all.”

Fear and ignorance may be somewhat excusable. But what about those who knew, and still know, that overheating the planet with fossil fuels and destroying natural systems that keep the carbon cycle in balance will create calamitous consequences for humanity — but who say or do nothing, or cover up what they know, for the sake of profit?

Recently uncovered documents and research papers show oil giant Exxon knew as early as the 1970s that using its products would cause global heating. Other oil industry organizations knew as early as the 1950s. Research shows projections from Exxon’s own scientists starting in the 1970s were astonishingly accurate — that burning coal, oil and gas would cause heating of about 0.2 C per decade.

READ MORE: Lies, damn lies and climate change

“We now have the smoking gun showing that they accurately predicted warming years before they started attacking the science,” said Geoffrey Supran, who led the study by Harvard University and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.

Instead of providing urgent warnings and shifting from a business model that UN secretary general António Guterres calls “inconsistent with human survival,” Exxon executives have put enormous resources into downplaying, discrediting and denying research by their own and other scientists. In 2013, Exxon’s then-CEO Rex Tillerson, who later served as secretary of state under U.S. President Donald Trump, claimed that climate models were “not competent.”

Cornell University climate scientist Natalie Mahowald told The Guardian that delays brought on by the misinformation have had “profound implications,” as the knowledge they covered up could have sparked a much faster shift to renewable energy.

Now, everyone is affected: from heat domes to atmospheric rivers, floods to droughts, migration crises to global conflicts, the consequences are increasing daily in all parts of the world. It will only get worse as we hit tipping points that could set off irreversible changes.

As just one of many examples, Greenland ice, which has helped keep the planet cool, is rapidly melting as the country reaches average temperatures warmer than in at least 1,000 years.

This could add more than 50 centimetres to rising sea levels by the end of the century!

Although it’s becoming impossible for industry executives to deny what science and observation confirm, they’ve come up with other ways to keep the money rolling in. They continue to argue that we’ll need their products for decades to come and that we “can’t shift overnight,” even though they’ve prevented us from starting the necessary transition that should have begun decades ago.

And, as the implications of burning coal and oil are indisputable, they’ve started touting “natural” gas (which is almost entirely the potent greenhouse gas methane) as a “green” fuel. The Washington Post recently revealed how “dark money” groups tied to the fossil fuel industry have convinced lawmakers in the U.S. to enact legislation redefining fossil gas as “green.”

The Empowerment Alliance and American Legislative Exchange Council (both anonymously funded) are working to get states to overturn renewable energy requirements or rebrand gas as “clean.”

Enough is enough. We’ve already wasted too much time, too many valuable resources and too many lives just to enrich people who care little if at all about anything beyond themselves. It’s time to hold industry accountable and end the fossil fuel era! A cleaner future is possible.

David Suzuki is a scientist, broadcaster, author and co-founder of the David Suzuki Foundation. Written with contributions from David Suzuki Foundation Senior Writer and Editor Ian Hanington. Learn more at davidsuzuki.org.

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Categories: F. Left News

Temporary foreign workers in rural AB, lack access to service provider orgs

Rabble - Wed, 01/25/2023 - 07:21

Labour shortages in Alberta’s rural areas have always been an ongoing problem—specifically in the province’s agriculture sector where the labour demand is expected to grow within the next decade. The Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) program is an option to help relieve this shortage. Employers can apply to fill their job vacancies if there are no Canadian workers available for the position and TFWs can fulfill the vacancy while working towards permanent residency.

While this may seem like a win-win situation, there’s a glaring issue that was identified in the Temporary Foreign Workers in the Prairie Region Policy Research, a research endeavour jointly commissioned by the Alberta Association of Immigrant Serving Agencies (AAISA) and the Calgary Catholic Immigration Society (CCIS)—prairie regions, like rural Alberta, lack immigrant-serving service provider organizations (SPO).

SPOs are needed to help migrant workers settle in Canada—this includes information on how to set them up with their health card or SIN number, helping them understand their worker rights and much more.

Lynn, a former TFW who is now waiting on her permanent residency application, recalled the little resources and support services available to her when she worked in a remote community in rural Alberta. Due to Lynn’s precarious immigration status, rabble has agreed to protect her identity through the use of      a pseudonym.

“They promised me an opportunity to get a better future. At the same time to get an opportunity to get a permanent residence [in Canada]. But when I went here as a TFW, they did not inform us or make us aware of any supports,” said Lynn.

With no information on her worker rights, Lynn was subjected to verbal harassment from her coworkers, while her employer repeatedly violated her contract. The 40-hour work week that she was promised, was never fulfilled and on a low wage job with part-time hours, the surmounting living costs weighed heavily on her—but with nowhere to reach out to, Lynn’s mental health suffered.

Additionally, Lynn was working on a closed work permit which by law, prevented her from seeking new employment—she was legally bound to her employer and feared that speaking up could harm her opportunity for permanent residency.

READ MORE: Migrant workers and ‘the pandemic paradox’: The unseen hands that truly keep us afloat

“You can’t complain because you are scared of getting terminated. Those are the things that was happened during my time. My mouth was shut because I was scared to get fired. I really didn’t know where to seek support,” said Lynn.

The TFW program has subjected many migrant workers, like Lynn, to workplace abuse and unsafe working conditions. Oftentimes, TFWs are trapped in these work situations. In rural Alberta, there are gaps of services and program delivery. While rural Alberta needs workers, TFWs need SPOs so they can understand their rights as workers and are not forced into an unfair or unsafe work environment.

Few supports in rural communities for TFWs

Agriculture is a prominent industry across Canadian rural communities, but the growing labour gap      threatens the sector’s potential growth and profitability. Alberta, for instance, had 2,800 unfilled agriculture jobs in 2017 which resulted in the industry losing $821 million in revenue.

TFWs have been contributing to Canada’s agriculture labour force for years. From 2015 to 2019, there was a 52 per cent increase of TFWs working in agriculture. In 2021, there were 61,735 TFWs who entered Canada’s agriculture industry, alleviating labour shortages.

Then when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the role of TFWs in agriculture sectors was further emphasized—during a time of global crisis, they were essential workers at all levels of Canada’s food supply chain.

“That’s when Canada realized the importance of [temporary] foreign workers … because a lot of foreign workers were working in the food chain industry, in the agriculture industry, in the agrifood industry—a lot of the operations stopped,” said Jessica Juen, Program Coordinator at CCIS.

But the pandemic also highlighted the vulnerabilities TFWs faced. While TFWs answered the call to fulfill agriculture job vacancies in rural Alberta, immigrant serving SPOs in these regions were scarce and inaccessible. 

“It’s very evident that support for the temporary foreign workers—especially those farm workers—they’re really working in remote areas in Alberta. There is not a strong [presence of] migrants advocates or migrant serving agencies that they can access,” said Jay Zapata, secretary general of Migrante Alberta in an interview with rabble.     

Migrante Alberta is a non-profit advocacy group for migrant workers, focusing on lobbying and campaigning for their rights. It is part of the national umbrella organization, Migrante Canada.

According to the Alberta government’s Ministry of Trade, Immigration and Multiculturalism, supporting TFWs is crucial to Alberta’s rural economic recovery. There are a number of support services available across the province and are separated into three main streams: Settlement and Community Support Services, Language Assessment and Referral Services, and English as an Additional Language Drop-in Services.

“Supports in these streams include orientation and information; referrals; translation and interpretation; and outreach for making community connections to ensure newcomers are aware of settlement and integration supports,” read a statement from the Ministry of Trade, Immigration and Multiculturalism.

But it’s clear that these support services are not reaching TFWs as intended. These service gaps are described as SPO “deserts” and are especially apparent in rural Alberta. The TFW Prairie Region Project found that for the reporting period from January 4 to December 2021, out of the 4,929 approved TFW positions in Southern Alberta, only 918 workers were served by SPOs.

In Central and Northern Alberta, SPO reach is much lower—out of the 6,106 approved TFW positions, only 496 clients accessed SPOs. In particular, Northern Alberta had insufficient organizational capacity and presence of SPOs. 

“COVID-19 did not create the challenges and did not create those deserts. There were already [SPO] deserts before that. COVID-19 really underlined more the challenges of [temporary] foreign workers,” said Juen.

Other than access to much needed settlement information, Juen and Zapata found that migrant workers needed mental health support. Currently there are no mental health services specific to migrant workers.

TFWs could feel disconnected from their cultural communities when they enter a new country. Along with adjusting to their new environment and the stress of navigating a complex immigration system, TFWs experience isolation.

“Mental health support is really a missing piece in the lives of migrant workers—and then when COVID hit it really doubled the issues of isolation. It heightened that isolation piece,” said Zapata. “That’s why mental health is so important, and we haven’t seen it come a long way.”

Addressing immigrant-serving SPO “deserts”

It’s evident that TFWs are essential to supporting Alberta’s economy, this was made blatantly clear during the pandemic. The scarcity of support services and information on settlement and worker rights, leave TFWs in precarious workplace situations and nowhere to turn to.

“Temporary foreign workers have been key in Alberta’s rural economic recovery. Their skills and hard work are extremely valuable to rural communities. Supporting these workers is paramount to their success and Alberta’s success,” read the statement from Garrett Koehler, press secretary of Alberta’s Ministry of Trade, Immigration and Multiculturalism.

“We will continue to be focused on supporting these workers, and we will stay connected with key partners to find ways to address gaps in support services,” the statement continued.

However, fixing these SPO “deserts” would require a coordinated approach from stakeholders at all levels including employers, SPOs, provincial and federal governments and many other organizational agencies.

While the solution is complex, addressing settlement needs and providing TFWs with their worker rights is a good place to start. Both Juen and Zapata suggested reaching TFWs either in their home country before they arrive in Canada or right when they land at the airport.

“One of the conversations that is taking place right now with one of the consulates is where we will provide online information sessions while the foreign workers are in their country of origin. And if this becomes successful, then we can mirror it to other consulates,” said Juen.The idea is that we can provide maybe four two-hour online sessions to provide information about life in Canada—and that will talk about what’s the weather like, getting their SIN number, or getting their health card and about the rights and responsibilities.”

There is also the recommendation of funding—SPOs in rural areas currently lack the organizational capacity to reach TFWs. A stream of funding from governments to SPOs is necessary to address this service gap. Zapata added that existing SPOs like CCIS, Calgary Immigrant Women’s Association and Migrante Alberta would benefit from additional funding, especially since they are trusted organizations for TFWs.

“Work on this. Work with them so that they could be utilized more. I see them empowering the community as well … If we involve these associations, if we involve these organizations in these causes, they would be in a good position in advocating and promoting the welfare of migrant workers,” said Zapata.

The post Temporary foreign workers in rural AB, lack access to service provider orgs appeared first on rabble.ca.

Categories: F. Left News

Building A Global People’s Movement To End US Imperialism

Popular Resistance - Mon, 01/23/2023 - 18:39

Following a two-year organizing effort, the International People's Tribunal on US Imperialism will launch in New York City on January 28. The People's Tribunal will focus on US sanctions, blockades and coercive measures and how they impact people in the targeted countries. Clearing the FOG speaks with Helyeh Doutaghi, a co-chair of the Tribunal, a doctoral student at Carleton University in Ottawa, and an anti-imperialist activist, about why this is an opportune time to build a global movement focused on the United States, how the Tribunal will be structured and how the testimony will be used to hold the US accountable for its violations of international law. Doutaghi also explains how people in the United States are being misled so they will support the use of these illegal actions, if they are even aware of them.

The post Building A Global People’s Movement To End US Imperialism appeared first on PopularResistance.Org.

Categories: F. Left News

Thank you for nominating ‘rabble rousers to watch’ in 2023!

Rabble - Mon, 01/23/2023 - 13:03

We won’t sugarcoat it – sometimes working in activism can be onerous, overwhelming and downright disheartening. It can also feel, at times, thankless. 

Is anybody listening? Does anyone care? How can I get people to understand and support my cause? Why would anyone listen to me? 

rabble.ca was created by progressive journalists and activists. So we understand that activism requires amplifiers to help build movements and create change. Activism needs journalism that pays attention to how change happens at the grassroots. 

Our ‘rabble rousers to watch’ series does just this.  

As is the case every year, our most recent ‘rabble rousers to watch’ survey yielded inspiring results. We heard back from people across the country in response to our annual survey – with exciting suggestions of people making real change in their communities and nationally. 

Let’s travel across our vast country to meet a few of our nominees.

Starting in New Brunswick, Black Lives Matters activists are organizing to dismantle all forms of anti-Black racism and to support Black healing. Drive a few hours west and in Peterborough, a grassroots movement has come together to support the homeless population by providing miniature homes and support services. Keep travelling west and in Medicine Hat, meet an inspiring retired man with disabilities who is devoting his life to advocating for all persons with disabilities living in poverty in Canada. Visit Calgary, and you’ll meet an Indigenous activist who is nominated for her steadfast advocacy for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. Sail over to Victoria, B.C. and learn about a community-led action group which has been created to save urban forests from development by lobbying their city council to improve tree preservation bylaws.

These are just some of the nominees our readers put forth, and we are excited to share their stories, their struggles, and their issues with you through our Lynn Williams activist toolkit.

Become a rabble rouser today

Our non profit newsroom, rabble can only tell these kinds of important stories of transformative social change with the support of generous individual community members like you. No amount is too little (or too much). 

If you have the means to do so, please become a rabble rouser by supporting rabble.ca with a one-time or monthly donation today. 

We can only do this work with your help, rabble rouser! By donating to rabble, you’ll be joining our efforts to amplify the critical work being done in communities across the country. 

In solidarity, 

Kim Elliott, publisher 

Breanne Doyle, managing editor 

If you’re interested in learning about previous years’ rabble rousers to watch, click here.

The post Thank you for nominating ‘rabble rousers to watch’ in 2023! appeared first on rabble.ca.

Categories: F. Left News

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