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  • Imperial Agenda

    Back in January, when the Harper Tories eked out their election squeaker, Canadian foreign policy wasn’t even on the radar screen, despite valiant efforts by the anti-war movement to challenge Canada’s role in the occupations of Haiti and Afghanistan. Things will be different next time. As Canadian troops die in sizeable numbers for the first time since the Korean War, foreign policy could become a key factor in blocking a Harper majority.

    It’s true that the military brass, key business organizations like the Canadian Council of Chief Executives and the political right are pulling out all the stops, and this may have some impact. The “red rallies” to “support our troops” are a well-orchestrated campaign to whip up patriotic fervour, and every time a bomb kills civilians in Kabul, the corporate media sings the “save the Afghan civilians” tune.

  • Adobes of the Apocalypse

    The slum has long exercised its fears, but there have fascinations aplenty, as well. Rudyard Kipling’s poetic tribute to the Dickensian underworld of Victorian Calcutta plunged his readers deeper and deeper into “the lowest sink of all” in what he fondly dubbed “the city of dreadful night.” Poet laureate of Empire, Kipling fancied himself a connoisseur of the pungent smells of the slum, claiming to be able to discern the “Big Calcutta Stink” from other debased urban environs and their unique odours.

  • Polluted Water Hits First Nations, but doesn’t stop there

    Grassy Narrows First Nation gets a boil-water advisory from the Medical Services Environmental Health Worker for Treaty #3 First Nations. My first thought was: “I thought we were safe.” To say the least, it’s very inconvenient to boil water for two minutes to kill any bacteria that live in it. But if we do not boil the water, the elders, infants and children, and weak adults are susceptible to severe stomach cramps, diarrhea and/or vomiting.

  • Communities, Not Corporations

    The vast majority of water and wastewater systems in Canada are owned, operated and maintained within the public sector. Essential to our public health system, municipal water systems were one of the first major services to be publicly delivered in Canada. The reason why water infrastructure is overwhelmingly public is because the private sector could not be relied upon to deliver a quality service at a price that all residents could afford. It’s therefore ironic that water corporations from rich countries like our own are now trying to persuade developing countries not to develop water resources publicly but to experiment with the private sector instead. What’s more, the belief that the private sector can manage our public water resources is now gaining ground in Canadian government and policy circles.

  • 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.

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