Thursday, June 29, 2006
Critical Mass is a monthly celebration of human-powered transport aimed at creating a leaner, greener culture. Critical Mass began in San Francisco in 1992, and has grown to include over 300 cities worldwide. City councillors, pastors, grandparents, students, business owners, and life-long bicycle commuters will gather to celebrate their independence from the soaring cost of gasoline and the harmful effects of car culture.
“The euphoria that comes from riding together with a big group of happy cyclists is something that everyone should experience. Car-filled streets can be so hostile, but a bunch of bikes make them beautiful” says year-round commuter Cliff Lee.
While wary of the recent history of police brutality that has marred past Critical Mass rides, cyclists are optimistic that the upcoming ride will be fun and safe for all. In an open email to cyclists, police officer Frank May wrote that the Winnipeg Police Service would make “an effort to negotiate the groundwork for a peaceful ride on June 30th 2006 and rides there after (sic).”
[The police have been the primary source of violence at past rides. The key to a peaceful Critical Mass is for the police to refrain from abusing their power.]
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
On December 2, 2002, the indigenous youth of Grassy Narrows lay down in the path of industrial logging trucks, blocking access to their traditional lands and sparking what is now the longest standing indigenous blockade in Canada.
This summer, the Rainforest Action Network and Forest Ethics invite you to a week of workshops, trainings, stories, campfires, feasting, music, and action at the Grassy Narrows blockade. Join us, to support this visionary action, deepen our understanding of the issues, and build the bonds between indigenous land struggles and the environmental movement.Although the blockade still stands strong, logging companies (Weyerhaeuser and Abitibi) are still destroying parts of Grassy Narrows' traditional lands, and the McGuinty government refuses to address the growing crisis of unresolved native land rights conflicts and habitat destruction in the great northern Boreal forest.
We are working closely with community leaders from Grassy Narrows who have invited supporters of social, economic, and ecological justice to support their blockade and to bring the action into the stores that sell this wood, the legislatures that pass the laws, the boardrooms that make the decisions, and to broad public attention in the media. Let us answer their call.
Transportation is being arranged from key regions to Grassy Narrows (near Kenora Ontario, Canada). Gas subsidies will be provided to people who bring a full vehicle.
Northern First Nations: Jocelyn Cheechoo - firstname.lastname@example.org
Toronto and Southern Ontario: Kim Fry – email@example.com/416-452-4199
Thunder Bay and Northern Ontario: Damien Lee - firstname.lastname@example.org
Winnipeg and Manitoba: Shelagh – email@example.com
Wisconsin and Minnesota: Bob Poeschl - firstname.lastname@example.org
Unions, Student Unions, activist groups, etc. are encouraged to sponsor a vehicle or contribute to the cost of a bus. Contact Kim Fry at email@example.com
Nonviolent Direct Action
Native Land Rights
Activist Legal Defense
Forest Defense Tactics and Strategies
Accommodation will be vehicle access tenting. Some meals will be communal. However, people are encouraged to be self-sufficient. More details to come.
For more information, logistical details and updates check out www.freegrassy.org and www.forestethics.ca
Monday, June 26, 2006
Ottawa, ON K1A 1L1
Monday, June 26, 2006
Re: Abdelkader Belaouni
Dear Monte Solberg,
I write this letter to draw attention to Mr. Abdelkader Belaouni’s case, in response to a call for support from the Committee to Support Abdelkader Belaouni. Mr. Abdelkader Belaouni has taken sanctuary in St. Gabriel's Church in Point St. Charles, Montreal in order to avoid deportation.
Since moving to Montreal nearly three years ago, Mr. Belaouni has worked hard to achieve a life of dignity, autonomy and security for himself. However, as is the case of many thousands of other non-status people living in Canada, Immigration Canada left Abdelkader no choice but to defy the deportation order and take sanctuary. As the francophone branch of Amnesty International Canada wrote, "Pour que cesse cette quête pour une vie meilleure et au nom de la dignité humaine, Amnistie internationale vous demande d'accorder immédiatement à Monsieur Belaouni le statut de résident permanent, pour motifs humanitaires."
As a result of the significant contributions and strong connections Abdelkader has made in his community, and more broadly in Montreal, Abdelkader he has seen an outpouring of support from national and Montreal-based organizations and countless individuals since taking sanctuary. While confined to the rooms of St. Gabriel's Church for more than three months, his struggle against deportation and for status continues.
Please accept Mr. Belaouni as a Canadian citizen.
Friday, June 23, 2006
Sir Edward Dering,. 1642. A collection of speeches in matters of religion: p 153
"This Bill..will prove the mother of absolute Anarchisme."
Thomas Blount. 1656. Glossographia, or a dictionary interpreting such hard words..as are now used.
"Anarchism, the Doctrine, Positions or Art of those that teach anarchy; also the being itself of the people without a Prince or Ruler."
Sir C. Dilke. 1882. Daily News 3 July 2/6
"Russian Nihilism, German Social Democracy, and French Anarchism were, in a high degree, the children of Protection."
G. B. Shaw. 1893. The Impossibilities of Anarchism.
J. A. Estey. 1913. Revolutionary Syndicalism v. 128
"The ‘veritable abyss’, which separates the ideal of Anarchism (i.e. philosophic Anarchism) from the ideal of Syndicalism."
New Statesman. 1962 7 Sept. 287/1
"His method is to examine the ‘Family Tree’ of anarchism, with its roots in Lao-Tse, Zeno and the Essenes."
Stockwell Day, MP, P.C.
House of Commons
Ottawa ON K1A 0A6
Suite 202, 301 Main Street
Penticton BC V2A 5B7
Dear Stockwell Day,
I support the detainees Mohammad Mahjoub, Mahmoud Jaballah, and Hassan Almrei. These men's lives are in danger and they need a solution now.
Mahmoud Jaballah and Mohammad Mahjoub have been on hunger strike since May 23, with Hassan Almrei hunger striking an additional ten days. Mahjoub (held since June, 2000), Jaballah (held seven months in 1999, and since August, 2001) and Almrei (held since October 2001) are feeling not only the effects of the hunger strike, but are also sweltering in a retrofitted classroom portable which has no air conditioning. When Mr. Jaballah was removed from his cell at 2 am with breathing problems, he didn’t see a nurse until almost six hours later.
Two simple demands remain at the core of the hunger strike:
1. The men want access to a canteen (which holds snack foods), much as they had access to at Metro West Detention Centre. The government claims concerns over who would handle the detainees' money have prevented them from setting this up. The men have put forward a half dozen workable solutions, but the federal government refuses to budge. Because their daily meals do not provide enough food, the men need the canteen to stave off hunger pangs.
2. Proper phone access. At Metro West, the men could dial out and speak with anyone they chose to from early morning until early evening. Currently, the men are allowed three 20 minute calls per day. However, they must put in a written request an hour before each call is made. If, for example, they call their lawyer, and are informed s/he won't be back for ten minutes, they cannot call ten minutes later. They must put in another phone request, wait an hour, and then hope the lawyer will be there. The limited phone access sharply curtails their ability to maintain contact with their families as well.
Representatives of the Canadian Border Services Agency, which runs “Guantanamo North,” have assured campaign members that the men's health is their top priority (even though they are trying to deport them to torture). But to allow human beings to go over a month without nutrition is simply heartless. For the federal government to refuse to fix these simple problems, especially after the light that was shone on security certificates over the past month with the Supreme Court hearings, is shameful.
Thursday, June 22, 2006
At the conclusion of its 40th Annual Congress, the Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society issued a statement on climate change:
"Climate change is happening now, both in Canada and around the world. Most of this change is attributable to human activities that release greenhouse gases into the atmosphere... We call on all levels of government to take immediate action. We must both reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and prepare for climate change."
"We urge all governments to work towards a single international agreement to address climate change, as was recognized in the 1992 U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change."
"The Climate Convention's Kyoto Protocol is an important first step towards reducing the release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. However, the scientific evidence dictates that in order to stabilize the climate, global reductions in greenhouse gas emissions need to go far beyond those mandated under this Kyoto Protocol. We recognize the challenge of implementing the current agreement; nonetheless we urge Canada to contribute effectively to this global effort."
Wednesday, June 21, 2006
Office of the Prime Minister
80 Wellington Street
Ottawa K1A 0A2
June 21, 2006
Dear Prime Minister Stephen Harper,
I am writing to you because I hope that you will end all federal subsidies to oil and gas industries; shift taxes from jobs to carbon; raise the royalty rates on fossil fuel extraction; place a moratorium on projects in the Athabasca Tar Sands; stop subsidizing the world’s most profitable companies to produce the world’s most profitable product; and meet the Kyoto Plus targets.
Sunday, June 18, 2006
Saturday, June 17, 2006
After two years of sitting on the idea of bringing back a police commission, city hall will think about putting ordinary citizens in charge of the Winnipeg Police Service. City council's left-leaning protection subcommittee voted yesterday to ask Mayor Sam Katz's cabinet and the province to explore the idea of starting up a police commission, a group of five to nine elected or appointed citizens and possibly politicians, which would set police policy and look into complaints. Winnipeg has not had such a commission since 1986, when the provincial Law Enforcement Review Agency was created to handle police complaints across the province. A move to bring a commission back here stalled in 2004. But yesterday, the protection committee set the wheels in motion again after a raucous morning meeting that saw more than two dozen inner-city groups petition for a new commission and members of activist group Critical Mass repeat claims of police misconduct at a downtown bike demonstration in May. "The police need to be accountable to a body other than themselves," said Jon Schledewitz, an Uptown Magazine and Winnipeg Sun photographer who was among dozens of protesters who've alleged mistreatment by police during and after a police-escorted ride on May 26. His view was echoed by Grand Chief Chris Henderson of the Southern Chiefs Organization, Bernice Getty of the North End Women's Resource Centre and Tom Simms of the Community Education Development Association, who held up a petition signed by leaders of 26 inner-city groups. Winnipeg is the only major city in Canada without a police commission, said Simms, who first put the idea before the protection committee one month ago. Yesterday, all four councillors on the committee -- Donald Benham, Jenny Gerbasi, Harvey Smith and chair Gord Steeves -- voted in favour of pursuing the idea. But any debate over the merits of a police commission was overshadowed by confusion at city hall, as Steeves and Gerbasi refused to let Critical Mass members or lawyer David Sanders relate details about the May 26 demonstration. Complaints stemming from the incident -- which saw eight demonstrators charged -- are heading to LERA, Steeves said, so any discussion about them at a subcommittee meeting could prejudice the results. "There is a body to hear complaints, and this isn't the one," said Steeves, noting police careers are on the line. "I'm surprised to hear members of this committee don't want to accept the responsibility of this committee," lawyer Sanders shot back. Outside the meeting, Winnipeg Police Chief Jack Ewatski said all allegations against police are serious and insisted LERA is the place to take them. He also denied Critical Mass allegations that officers in plain clothes deliberately provoked protesters at the rally. "There were no undercover officers with a role to mix it up," he said while several of the two dozen activists present heckled. On the weightier matter of the police commission, Ewatski said it would be inappropriate for him to offer an opinion because that would amount to choosing his next boss. Winnipeg Mayor Sam Katz, meanwhile, said he would be willing to consider the notion of a police commission but noted the last incarnation in Winnipeg did not work very well. "Over time, everything the committee did do was sent to be reviewed to other areas," said Katz, who had wandered out of his office just in time to be surrounded by reporters who had just finished scrumming Ewatski. At the end of the day, Gerbasi said she was disappointed the Critical Mass issue diverted attention from the police commission. She also said she was upset protesters felt they had no voice at city hall, adding she and Benham have been trying to get the police and demonstrators to co-operate. Police and Critical Mass are slated to meet Friday, June 16 at the University of Winnipeg to work out a plan for a peaceful bike rally on Friday, June 30.
Thursday, June 15, 2006
Manitoba's woodland caribou will be listed as threatened under the province's Endangered Species Act, Conservation Minister Stan Struthers announced [last] Thursday. It's illegal to kill or injure the woodland caribou, now considered a 'threatened' species. Woodland caribou live in the boreal forests across Canada. In Manitoba, an estimated 1,800 to 3,200 of the animals live east of Lake Winnipeg, in the Interlake, and in the North. "We have a pretty stable population of caribou, but we don't just want them to survive. We want them to actually thrive," Struthers said. Federal officials, environmentalists and even the paper company Tembec — on whose land some of the animals reside — have been calling for years on the province to take steps to help protect the animal. "We could have, a year ago, made the announcement, but we wouldn't have been doing it with the co-operation of the First Nations in the area, who actually have to live in the area," Struthers said. "I would much rather take a little longer, be thorough, do it properly and then move forward in a sure-footed way, rather than simply going for headlines and taking the easy way out." The province will now be able to count on the co-operation of local First Nations, as well as Manitoba Hydro and Tembec, when implementing its strategy to maintain the caribou population, Struthers said. Under the act, a "threatened" species is one that is likely to become endangered. An "endangered" animal is one that could imminently disappear from Manitoba or become extinct. It is illegal to "kill, injure, possess, disturb or interfere with" a threatened species, or to destroy or disturb its habitat, except under certain circumstances. Struthers said the province will be able to count on the co-operation of local First Nations, as well as Manitoba Hydro Tembec, which work in the areas of Manitoba where the caribou live. Boreal woodland caribou were once found throughout the boreal forest, but they have mainly disappeared from southern areas. Experts blame predators, parasites, diseases, uncontrolled hunting and human activities affecting habitat for the losses. The Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada declared the western Canadian population of boreal woodland caribou as a vulnerable species in 1984. In 2003, the federal government listed boreal woodland caribou as threatened.
ENVIRONMENT CANADA: More on the woodland caribou
Wednesday, June 14, 2006
Monday, June 12, 2006
Saturday, June 10, 2006
Dear Prime Minister Harper and Minister Hearn,
I believe that you should taking actions that ensure the future health and integrity of ocean ecosystems.
To protect deep-sea biodiversity from continued indiscriminate destruction, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) ought to adopt an immediate moratorium on deep-sea bottom trawl fishing, until legally binding regimes for the effective conservation and management of international fisheries and the protection of biodiversity can be developed, implemented, and enforced.
The severe and deteriorating conflict between biodiversity conservation and bottom trawling warrants urgent action by the UNGA this year. A high seas bottom trawl fishing moratorium would provide immediate protection to the extraordinarily rich, vulnerable (and mostly undiscovered) deep-sea biodiversity.
As a representative of the people in Canada, you ought to support the UN resolution for a moratorium on bottom trawling on the high seas seamount at the upcoming UNGA meeting in November 2006 and show the world that Canada is serious about sustainability and the future well-being of ocean ecosystems.
Thank you. Please advise me of your position on this issue.