How can Canadians work to end the current conflict in Gaza?

rabble news - Fri, 07/18/2014 - 8:51am

The recent surge in violence between Israel and Hamas has left many in Canada deeply upset, angry and frustrated. The violence directed at civilians on both sides is wrong, and should be condemned. However, the conflict remains lopsided as deaths in Gaza continue to rise.

How can Canadians work to end the current conflict in Gaza?

Choices Pressure our MPs to speak out against Israeli aggression. Support and spread information about the Boycott, Divest and Sanctions movement. Tweet #freepalestine, then delete it shortly after. Take part in Palestinian Solidarity protests, marches and actions. Move. Nothing, the two sides are two firmly entrenched in their beliefs. None of the above.
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Students are struggling to find summer jobs for the sixth year in a row

rabble news - Fri, 07/18/2014 - 8:46am

There is something great about summer in Canada; it's hot but also full of promise with places to visit, camping, travelling, cottaging, trips to the beach and various summer events and festivals.

For many of Canada's students, however, summer has not been so great. New data from Statistics Canada's Labour Force Survey released Friday shows that students are struggling to find summer jobs for the sixth year in a row.

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Bond rating agencies and the economics of ugly forebodings

rabble news - Fri, 07/18/2014 - 8:28am
Friday, July 18, 2014

Where do bond rating agencies get the nerve? They loom over economic policy like divine oracles. They tell lenders how safe to feel when making loans and therefore what interest rates to charge governments who borrow from them. In recent decades, as raising revenues through higher taxes became politically toxic, they expanded their influence and arrogance.

Where do bond rating agencies get the nerve? They loom over economic policy like divine oracles, telling lenders how safe to feel when making loans and what interest rates to charge governments.

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The most important Duffy trial must be held in the court of public opinion

rabble news - Fri, 07/18/2014 - 1:09am

How could the handoff of a $90,000 cheque to Senator Mike Duffy by the prime minister's chief of staff not be worthy of prosecution while the acceptance of the same piece of paper by the senator is?

Wherever the trial of Duffy leads us in the months and years to come, this is the question ordinary Canadians are scratching their heads about today as they pick up a whiff of something not quite as it should be on the breeze from Ottawa -- like the ephemeral scent of a distant skunk's perfume on a summer's night.

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Media (mis)management of the Gaza conflict

rabble news - Thu, 07/17/2014 - 8:29pm

With the abrupt removal of NBC's key reporter on the ground in Gaza, Ayman Mohyeldin, who witnessed and reported on the killing of four Palestinian kids playing football on a beach, it becomes that much clearer that we in North America are unlikely ever to see balanced coverage of the conflict in the corporate media.

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Powerful, influential, transformative: How one woman's campaign team transformed the CLC

rabble news - Thu, 07/17/2014 - 7:45pm
Friday, July 18, 2014 This year's CLC convention saw women play a pivotal role in determining the outcome of the convention. Here, several women labour union leaders weigh in on the transformative experience.

The powerful roles women play in the labour movement go too often unreported. Perhaps nowhere has this been more evident than in coverage of the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) convention held in Montreal in May of this year. Although the CLC has previously had a female national president, with the election of Shirley Carr in 1986, and has had gender parity in its executive body well before most non-labour entities, the stereotype of a macho labour movement has persisted. In reality, that image has been changing dramatically as labour reflects the diversity of its members and the workforce overall. 

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Letters to Ryan Leef

rabble news - Thu, 07/17/2014 - 6:10pm

Ryan Leef Member of Parliament for Yukon

Dear Ryan,

We need your help.

The Peel River Watershed is a pristine area in northern Yukon prized by First Nations and famous worldwide for its extraordinary beauty.

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Fallen aircraft and smoking guns: The deadly consequences of Russian insurgency in Ukraine

rabble news - Thu, 07/17/2014 - 5:55pm

People all over the globe are stunned at the destruction of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH-17 carrying 295 passengers and crew near the Ukrainian city of Donetsk, currently held by the self-proclaimed, unrecognized, and Russian-backed Donetsk People's Republic. Video and still photos from the site make it clear that there could be no possible survivors.

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Left in Love: Angus and Maddy put their heads together to stop Harper

rabble news - Thu, 07/17/2014 - 4:32pm
Friday, July 18, 2014

Left in Love is a dating column for progressive daters who give a damn! Each month, Meghan Murphy matches couples looking for radical love and documents the date in this space. Our couple this month is Angus and Maddy.

Angus is a 33-year-old campaigner for an online organization against corporate power. He really likes hammocks but doesn't make an effort to lie in them enough. Socialist/loud. 

Maddy is a 28-year-old visual artist, caregiver for her grandma, and a kids' art programmer. Hopeful/cynic. 

How will Angus and Maddy express their opposition to Harper? Get the scoop as we join our next couple on their search for progressive love, in this month's Left in Love column.

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Feel Good Friday roundup: Women, amiright?! edition

rabble news - Thu, 07/17/2014 - 3:54pm
Friday, July 18, 2014 WOMEN. All we're doing is getting abortion clinics funded, being awesome at basketball, becoming superheroes and stopping antiquated sex-ed. We're a fearsome bunch.

I hate the phrase 'a case of the Mondays' for various reasons. But, I have to admit, I had a case of the Mondays this week.

Emails were void of exclamation marks and emoticons. Shark-related movies and shows remained unwatched. It was chaos.

Luckily, researching this week's Feel Good Friday kicked me right out of the Bitter Barn and placed me in the Happy Hay! (Yea. I just said that.)

So without further ado, here is this week's Feel Good Friday just in case you need a little pick me up. Or Happy Hay.

Enjoy!

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Harper declines to join other world leaders in calling for a halt to Israel's bombing of Gaza

rabble news - Thu, 07/17/2014 - 2:10pm
Harper's approach to Gaza is pretty one-sided, and a complete betrayal of Canadian values. Harper's one-sided approach to Gaza is a betrayal of Canadian values
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Low Income Transit Fares Closer to Reality

Toronto Media Coop Featured - Thu, 07/17/2014 - 1:55pm
Questions remain on Toronto Transit Fare Equity Framework

At its July meeting, Toronto City Council has moved to develop a framework to address the impacts of cost on low-income communities in the city’s transit system.

The services of the Toronto Transit Commission serve as a chief artery and travel lifeline for all people within Toronto, but there have long been concerns with the rising costs of the service. In a system that has been designed to underserve Toronto’s low-income communities, the addition of higher transit costs have been shown to impact overall financial sustainability, month-to-month financial well-being, individual independence, and connectedness to one’s community by multiple studies.

Several Toronto City departments and agencies over the years have similarly brought to light the relationships and impacts inequality has on transit use, but have lacked coordination and the support of Council for implementation. In an attempt to address these matters for those most impacted by the costs of the system, Councillors adopted a motion in a thirty-five to seven vote in favour of creating a framework on transit fare equity. Arising from a joint Steering Committee led by several city departments and agencies, the framework has been considered to allow for a unified assessment of fare discounts and to allow consideration of ”funding agreements with different sectors and orders of government”, according to the city’s staff summary report.

However, there is a much more direct potential impact with this framework. According to transit advocate Jessica Bell of TTC Riders, “[a]ffordable fares is an urgent issue because riders across Toronto are paying way too much, and some riders are daily making the horrible choice of buying food or buying tokens because they can't afford both”.

This view is shared by Josephine Grey of Low Income Families Together who stated that “transit is more expensive in Toronto than just about anywhere”. Grey noted that these issues have largely arisen due to divestment of responsibilities for such services by the federal and provincial governments in the 1990s. Ultimately, Grey wishes to ensure that all levels of government are held to account for ensuring a well-funded, accessible system.

From Bell’s perspective the framework must ultimately include a universal pass for low-income persons within the city. “The pass should include all low-income transit users, including folks on ODSB and Ontario Works, and unemployed people. We [..] want the city to assign a fair amount of money to the low income pass program so the fare discounts are sizeable and everyone who needs a low income pass can easily get one”.

Yet in the City Council staff report, it is not as certain that the city embraces either a universal pass as the proper solution within the framework. According to city officials, the Transit Commission has observed difficulty in being able to sell existing passes and tokens at varied prices. This creates the likely delay of implementation of any portion of the framework that directly results in cost reductions until the implementation of the city’s PRESTO reloadable card system in 2017. 

Additionally, officials suggest that fares could be additionally pegged to “travel time, peak/off peak hours, distance, or vehicle type” within this system. Such a change, if actually incorporated into the PRESTO system could well undermine the intentions of the framework, as proposed.

Yet, while the city reworks its fare delivery systems, people in Toronto still suffer the costs of high fares. Grey urges that proposals be promptly developed out of the framework process and given for comment. “Lets not spend the next six years talking about it”, noting that low-income communities in Toronto already require a better funded, more accessible system. For example, according to LIFT, members of the community using Wheeltrans have reported consistent service issues and complained of the invasiveness of the approval process to use the service.

In the end, the advocates at TTC Riders are clear that no matter how this fare reduction is implemented, it must be done in a fashion that is accessible to Torontonians. ”We don't want low income people navigating” says Bell, “a cumbersome undignified lengthy bureaucratic approval process to get the right to travel cheaply“.

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Photo by Secondarywaltz
This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

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Political ideology is not a map, grid, graph or chart

rabble news - Thu, 07/17/2014 - 12:47pm
Friday, July 18, 2014 When we think of political concepts as plots on a grid, we all lose. To truly understand someone's politics, more precise questions about their actual political and moral principles need to be asked.

We see them in every election campaign: lines, grids and maps of all kinds. We fill out a form with a few or a lot of questions and find ourselves represented as a dot, usually on a grid opposing social (up or down) and economic (left or right) liberalism or conservatism. We shrug our shoulders at the result, maybe share it on Facebook, and then forget about it. But this idea that we can plot every political ideology and set of beliefs on a simple grid has become such an ordinary way of talking about politics that we take it for granted, even as it's dangerously misleading. When we think of political concepts and policies this way, we all lose. Here's how.

Moving to the 'centre' to appeal to 'right' voters

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Six Nations & their allies shut down Line 9

Toronto Media Coop Featured - Thu, 07/17/2014 - 11:53am

PLEASE FORWARD WIDELY!

Come stand with individuals from Six Nations & their allies who have shut down work on Enbridge’s line 9. Folks will host an action camp on site using this direct action as an opportunity to do teach-ins and skill shares centred around indigenous nationhood and direct action.
Line 9 is an avenue to expand the tarsands which threaten the water & land it must be stopped.

Come sleep with us under the stars & learn some skills!

There will be a few shuttles between Hamilton [Dundurn Plaza in front of McD’s near Dundurn Street], Cambridge [Across from Ainslie Terminal in the bowling alley parking lot] & Six Nations to the site throughout the day. See the facebook page for updates/times. Seats can be reserved by texting 647-636-3838.
Follow #shutitdown & #noline9 for updates!

DIRECTIONS

Location
The sig site is just north of Beverly Court/East of Highway 24 in North Dumfries [between Cambridge & Brantford]. You can access the site from the north side of Bethany Court.

*note: we don’t know what parking or police presence will be like in Bethany court. We’ll try to put out updates but take a peek at the maps to know your stuff & decide where you want to park etc!

Biking
The site is accessible by bike and very close to the Hamilton-Brantford-Cambridge rail trail! It’ll be about a 20-30 minute bike ride from South Cambridge.

From Hamilton
Take the 403 West towards London. Get off at highway 24 & follow it north towards Cambridge. Turn Right on Lockie Road, left on Bethany.

From Cambridge
Take Highway 24 south out of Cambridge. Turn left on Lockie Road & left on Bethany.

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Does Bill C-36 really bestow dignity and human rights upon anyone?

rabble news - Thu, 07/17/2014 - 11:16am

Last week, witnesses provided testimony on Bill C-36, The Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act, to the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights. Many witnesses applauded the legislative sentiment contained within the preamble. Supporters of the bill argued that it represented a progressive, paradigm shift that made respect for human dignity an integral objective.

The specific passage states that "it is important to protect human dignity and the equality of all Canadians by discouraging prostitution."

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Harper's one-sided approach to Gaza is a betrayal of Canadian values

rabble news - Thu, 07/17/2014 - 11:10am
Thursday, July 17, 2014

Certain minimal standards are expected of a national leader in what is known as the "civilized world."

One of those standards would seem to be that, when massive numbers of defenceless civilians are being killed, a national leader should call for the killing to stop.

Questions about responsibility, blame, punishment, repercussions, etc., can always follow. But surely the first order of business -- the one with moral urgency -- is to halt the killing of innocent people.

So it's quite extraordinary, as well as appalling, that our prime minister has steadfastly declined to join other world leaders in calling for a halt to Israel's bombing of Gaza, which has killed more than 200 people and left more than 1,500 injured.

It's quite extraordinary, as well as appalling, that our prime minister has steadfastly declined to join other world leaders in calling for a halt to Israel's bombing of Gaza.

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The high financial risk of Alberta's tar sands in a carbon-constrained world

rabble news - Thu, 07/17/2014 - 8:58am

When it comes to global warming, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change notes that what matters is the total volume of greenhouse gas emissions going forward. This amounts to about 30 years of emissions at current levels -- a global carbon budget that would provide the world a 66 per cent chance of staying below 2°C. There is some debate about whether an upper limit of 2°C is itself too high -- it poses unacceptable and catastrophic consequences for the most vulnerable countries -- but nonetheless the 2°C target has been adopted in international negotiations towards a new treaty to address climate change.

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Children are the faces of the U.S. immigration crisis

rabble news - Thu, 07/17/2014 - 8:31am
Children are fleeing violence in Central America, seeking safety, at great risk, in distant lands. The issue is widely described in the U.S. as a "border crisis," but it isn't that. Children fleeing violence face cruel immigration system in U.S.
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Children fleeing violence face cruel U.S. immigration system

rabble news - Thu, 07/17/2014 - 8:16am
Thursday, July 17, 2014

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas put a prominent, public face on the immigration crisis this week when he was detained by the U.S. Border Patrol in McAllen, Texas. After a number of hours and a national outcry, he was released. He first revealed his status as an undocumented immigrant three years ago in a New York Times Magazine article, and has since made changing U.S. immigration policy his primary work. Vargas was in Texas to support the thousands of undocumented immigrant children currently detained there by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

The U.S. is experiencing a failure of economic globalization and foreign policy, amplified by failed, stagnant immigration policies. The latest victims are children seeking safety across its borders.

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If you can't trust Postmedia when it reports on oil and the environment, when can you trust it?

rabble news - Thu, 07/17/2014 - 2:14am

Industry self-regulation doesn't work and never will for a simple reason: He who pays the piper calls the tune.

Companies that tell fibs to their customers don't like being regulated by their own tame "watchdogs" any more than they like being told what to do by the government. The difference is, in the case of in-house regulation, they're big enough to kick the dog.

So DeSmog Canada needn't have held out much hope that Advertising Standards Canada would do or say anything about its complaint that Postmedia has been passing off paid advertising from the petroleum industry as unlabelled editorial content.

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