Articles

  • Turning on Canada’s Tap

    When Prime Minister Stephen Harper sat down with President George W. Bush in their first White House meeting on July 6, one of the “unmentionable” items on their agenda may well have been the question of bulk water exports from Canada. After all, Bush himself raised the issue back in July, 2001, when he talked “off the cuff” to reporters about growing water shortages in his home state of Texas and elsewhere in the country, saying he would like to begin negotiations with Ottawa on water exports from Canada. In Texas, he said, “water is more valuable than oil.” “A lot of people don’t need it, but when you head south and west, we need it,” Bush declared, adding that he “looked forward” to discussing the matter with then-prime minister Jean Chretien.

  • Working People’s Assemblies

    The editorial in the July/August issue of Canadian Dimension – “Building a Grassroots Opposition to Harper” – noted that some members of the CD collective have been discussing the possibility of establishing local “people’s assemblies.” In this article, CD Editorial Collective member Sam Gindin explains how a project of this type has already emerged in the U.S. – and bears close observation on this side of the border.*

  • “Missle Defense” Alive and Well in Canada

    Contrary to widespread popular mythology, “Ballistic Missile Defense” is alive and well in Canada. In fact, for many years Canada’s contribution to BMD has greatly surpassed efforts by other nations that have, at least, been honest enough to admit their participation.

    So, although Canada has not joined the “Coalition of the Willing to Admit Involvement in BMD,” it has long been complicit in creating, designing, researching, developing, testing, maintaining and operating numerous crucial BMD systems. Billions of tax dollars have been spent aiding and abetting domestic war industries, government scientists and military personnel, all deeply embedded in U.S.-, NORAD- and NATO-led BMD efforts.

  • Leonilda Zurita: Growing Coca in a Fight for Survival in Bolivia

    For centuries, coca has been used as a medicine in the Andes to relieve hunger, fatigue and sickness. Many Bolivians chew the small green leaf or drink it in tea on a daily basis. Much of the coca produced in Bolivia goes to this legal, controlled use. But the leaf is also a key ingredient in cocaine. The U.S. government has focused on coca eradication as a way to stem the flow of cocaine to the U.S. This war on drugs in Bolivia has resulted in violence, death, torture and trauma for the poor farmers who grow coca to survive. The U.S. government has directly funded this war, often facilitating human-rights violations and acting as a roadblock to peace in Bolivia. And the billions of dollars that Washington has pumped into this conflict have not diminished the amount of cocaine on the streets in the U.S.

  • In Defense of Divestment

    Not long after CUPE Ontario passed its now-famous Resolution 50 in support of the divestment, boycott and sanctions (DBS) campaign against Israel, the union received a significant letter of solidarity from the Congress of South African Trade Unions. The letter admonished CUPE, “Those supporting the ideology of Zionism and the pro-Israeli lobby will muster their substantial resources against you.”

  • After Chaouli

    In Quebec the Public-Private Partnership Agency, currently studying different PPP scenarios, will submit its report this December. One hot issue for the end of Premier Jean Charest’s tumultuous mandate is therefore likely to be the controversy ar-ound Quebec’s biggest construction and investment project – the two university hospital centres.

  • Labour Should Follow CUPE on Israel

    When CUPE delegates returned to their homes and workplaces after attending the Ontario Division’s annual convention in May, the media reports they would see and hear focused on but one resolution adopted at the convention. That was the now-famous Resolution 50, which called for the Division to work with Palestine solidarity and human rights organizations and develop an education campaign about the apartheid nature of the Israeli state and the political and economic support of Canada for these practices. The resolution also called for CUPE Ontario to support the international campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions until Israel meets its obligation to recognize the Palestinian people’s inalienable right to self-determination and fully complies with the precepts of international law including the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN Resolution 194.

  • The International Community Must Act to Stop Israel

    In the avowed aim of fighting terrorism, Israel has unleashed a reign of terror on innocent Lebanese nationals in flagrant violation of international law–for the second time in 25 years. An old hand at visiting collective punishment upon civilian populations, Israel is crucifying the sovereign state of Lebanon, bombing relentlessly, displacing more than half a million people, and wreaking death and devastation, ostensibly in retaliation for the capture of two Israeli soldiers by Hizbullah*. And this time around, inordinate Israeli aggression has cost the lives of nine Canadian citizens, four of them children and one a UN peacekeeper.

  • Why the Canadian Football League is the Sweden of the Sports World

    In the age of sports superstars with multi-million-dollar salaries, we tend not to think of professional athletes as workers. But, like other workers, professional athletes sell their labour to capitalists in return for a wage. With fame and fortune, they may be the most peculiar proletariat capitalism has ever produced, but it is important to remember that, throughout sporting history, athletes, like other workers, have had to form trade unions to fight for decent wages, benefits, and working conditions. And, like national economies, sports leagues vary in terms of their capital-labour relations. In some leagues athletes are still without the protection of a union and are thus subject to serious exploitation. In other leagues, players have a strong voice in the direction of their league and the future of their livelihoods.

  • Revisiting A Forgotten High-seas Struggle

    As filmmaker Elaine Brière tells it, the merchant seamen emerged from WWII with a strong, progressive union, publicly lauded for their war effort, straddling a hugely profitable public enterprise that gave Canada the fourth-largest shipping fleet in the world. Yet just five years later, the ships were sold, the union was broken and most of the seamen were blacklisted as “Communists.” How and why this was orchestrated – and the ways it was resisted unsuccessfully – is the remarkable and moving story told in Betrayed, mostly by the now-aging seamen themselves.

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