Articles

  • Sustainable Communities

    When one thinks of “cities” or an “urban agenda,” the university town of Wolfville, Nova Scotia (population: 8,000, including students) is likely not the first place that comes to mind. “The city” here almost invariably refers to Halifax, some 90 km to the east. But - perhaps because of a quirk of Canada’s electoral system, which disproportionately favours rural voters over urban - Paul Martin’s “New Deal for Cities” is (or has quickly become) in fact a plan for municipalities, encompassing Wolfville (and surrounding Kings County) as much as Canada’s metropolitan centres. The urban agenda thus matters to Wolfville, and developments in Wolfville around issues of “sustainable communities” may be important for those elsewhere, who are concerned with the ecological sustainability of the urban form.

  • Compete or Die

    The campaign to make the city of Toronto competitive has been waged for more than a decade by supporters from across the political spectrum. Competitiveness, a catch-all term, is often measured by how many companies and tourists are lured here instead of Chicago or Cleveland or Charlotte. And there is a list of things a city like Toronto apparently needs to have in order to attract the big-spending tourists and investors looking for places to park their fortunes.

  • Québec Communique

    Only two years after the founding of the Union des forces progressistes, the Québec Left has entered into a new phase of development. On the electoral scene and in the street, the UFP is a present and credible actor. Meanwhile, a new political club, Trade Unionists for a Free Québec (Syndicalistes pour un Québec libre - SPQL) is attempting to use their involvement with the Parti québécois to pull it to the left. Finally, a new political movement, Option citoyenne, led by feminist activist Françoise David and social housing activist François Saillant, is proposing nothing less than the unity of all left forces into a single party by Spring 2005. The coming year will be an important one for the Québec Left.

  • Labor Report

    Last issue I wrote a column about the BC Hospital Workers’ strike and the efforts of the B.C. Federation of Labour (BC Fed) to organize support for the Hospital Employees Union (HEU). I expressed the belief that it was the solidarity of HEU members and the prospect of coordinated support strike action being organized by the B.C. Federation of Labour that forced the government to resume bargaining with the HEU and agree to the union’s demand to significantly limit contracting out of work. Some people whom I respect were angry that I was not critical of the leadership. I wasn’t and I am still not.

  • Plan Petroleum in Colombia

    Despite U.S. government claims, there is still no evidence that Plan Colombia has achieved its principal goal of dramatically reducing the flow of cocaine to the United States. On the other hand, Plan Colombia’s militarization of Putumayo has contributed significantly to increased oil exploration by multinational companies in this resource-rich region.

  • Activist Video

    Activists use and consume art, and artists live in a real world which they must find ways to engage and transform. The video activist movement really has tried to bring the two spheres together. Nonetheless, we have yet to take the most important step toward a truly “useful” art movement: we must correct our wrong-headed tendency to subservience.

  • Vancouver Co-op Radio

    For 29 years, Co-op Radio has provided its listeners with an alternative source of current events, arts, multicultural and multilingual programming free of paid advertisements. In an age of media convergence and repetitive play lists, the station’s more than 2,000 members support an independent media outlet that airs diverse content.

  • How Patriarchy Undermines Canada’s Charity Law

    There appears to be a grotesque hypocrisy between the government trying to de-list progressive feminist, environmental and animal rights groups while permitting so-called charities that have a right-wing, patriarchal and economistic ideology to engage in highly political activities. It’s time for the Canada Revenue Agency to keep up with the times and to provide a progressive, balanced, and fair voice in its implementation of Canada’s charity laws.

  • Cities: Old Dilemmas, New Deals, Urban Dreams

    It is our view that the dilemmas facing cities in Canada, and around the world, are of staggering importance; that local politics and struggles are crucial to political organization today; and that confronting neoliberalism is also a confrontation with the political forces shaping today’s city of glittering towers, endless sprawl, shameful poverty, public wreckage.

  • On The Edge

    For anyone who paid any attention to the presidency of Ronald Reagan (1981-1989), media coverage of his death on June 5, 2004 was nothing less than a crazy-making experience.Who was the man in that coffin? Certainly not the man on historical record.

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