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Canadian Politics

  • Fernwood

    Errol Sharpe does not have a corner office in a towering skyscraper. The view from his desk is not of the Toronto skyline, but of Croucher, Wood and Strawberry Island in the quiet cove of St. Margaret’s Bay. It is here, in Black Point, Nova Scotia, that Fernwood Publishing has its national office, publishing critical non-fiction that challenges existing scholarship on issues of race, economics, trade, globalization, gender, labour and numerous other social issues.

  • A Very Tory Commission

    The Montreal hearings put the spotlight on a long line of prominent people, all of whom appeared to have been gleefully putting their hands into the taxpayer’s pocket. The creative villains in the “adscam” affair were Liberals or friends of the Liberal Party of Canada. Reporters, columnists, talk-show hosts and cartoonists bellowed and brayed about this betrayal of the democratic process, resulting in a frenzy of speculation over a possible snap election.

  • Why Quebec Says No to War

    Just over half the Canadians polled this past November strongly opposed missile defence. In Quebec, opposition to Star Wars was stronger by far: nearly two thirds were strongly opposed. This popular opposition, in addition to being co-opted by the Bloc Québécois, also managed to break the ice with the Liberal Party and won the support of the Quebec section of the federal Liberal Party.

    On March 15, 2003, 250,000 Montrealers responded to the call from the “Échec à la Guerre” (Block the War) Collective. They marched through downtown crying out their opposition to the Washington’s war of aggression against Iraq. Elsewhere in Quebec, a further 40,000 people were mobilized. Many sectors of the Quebec population rejected this war and came out into the streets.

  • Northern Pipe Dreams, Northern Nightmares

    For a moment in the seventies, the mystical North burst upon the Canadian consciousness, as “Justice Tom’s Flying Magic Circus” (a.k.a. the Mackenzie Valley Pipeline Inquiry) wound its way across the country. In 1975, at community hearings throughout the Northwest Territories, fiery Dene activists like Frank T’Seleie from Fort Good Hope condemned Bob Blair, president of Foothills Pipelines Ltd.: “You are like the Pentagon, Mr. Blair, planning the slaughter of innocent Vietnamese. Don’t tell me you are not responsible for the destruction of my nation. You are directly responsible. You are the twentieth century General Custer. You have come to destroy the Dene Nation. You are coming with your troops to slaughter us and steal land that is rightfully ours. You are coming to destroy a people that have a history of thirty thousand years. Why? For twenty years of gas? Are you really that insane? The original General Custer was exactly that insane. You still have a chance to learn.”

  • Progressives must rally behind the STV-PR referendum in BC

    On election day this May, B.C. voters will decide whether to adopt a form of proportional representation. B.C.’s right-wing Liberal government did the unthinkable and created a Citizens’ Assembly, a randomly chosen body with participants from across the province that would look critically at the voting system and make a recommendation about possibly changing it.

    The CA was a pretty good model of deliberative democracy. Participants had a chance to study different voting systems, discuss and debate their effects amongst themselves, and hear from experts, activists and average citizens in public hearings held across the province. In the end, they did recommend a change to a form of PR called the Single Transferable Vote (STV). Given the recent groundswell of support for PR from the B.C. NDP, the labour movement, the Greens, the women’s movements and many others, the recommendation should have a lot of support.

  • Senate Sleeps While Media Concentrates

    The Senate Committee Studying Media held a public hearing in Winnipeg in February, and it had all the excitement of any party that nobody wants to give and nobody wants to attend.

    In fact, hardly anybody did attend. Among those absent were the committee’s two senators representing Manitoba, anyone from the Manitoba Press Council and anyone from the province’s two schools of journalism and three universities. And, of the several hundred thousand Manitobans who read newspapers, listen to radio and watch television in Manitoba two, count ‘em: two people showed up with opinions about media, and both were given the bum’s rush. I have the honour of being one of them.

  • Newfoundland Women Want Pay Equity Too

    More than 25 years after the adoption of the Charter, the obligation to implement pay equity is still unmet. A test case for why the legal obligation to implement pay equity remains unfulfilled has recently been played out in Canada’s courts and federal/provincial system involving unionized female health-care workers in Newfoundland.

  • The Heart of the Taku

    Today the Taku is best known as a salmon stream, with commercial and sport fisheries in both B.C. and Alaska, and also as an endangered river, popular with eco-tourists and adventurers. But before it was any of these things, the Taku was the traditional hunting grounds of the Taku River Tlingit First Nation (TRTFN).

  • Whistle Blower’s Needed

    “No one felt any obligation to anyone on the outside.”

    American maverick journalist Lowell Bergman, speaking to Canadian counterparts in Toronto, was talking about the time CBS refused to air his now-famous expose of American tobacco companies and their relentless drive to hook smokers with new and improved forms of nicotine. He and whistle-blower/chemist Jeffrey Wigand later saw their unwelcome story offered to the public on the big screen in The Insider, featuring Al Pacino as Bergman and Russell Crowe as Wigand.

  • How I Became A Left Canadian Nationalist

    I spent my childhood on a mixed family farm helping raise chickens, cows, barley, wheat and pigs, but I grew up feeling like the black sheep. Growing up the unconsciously progressive child of staunch conservatives – so staunch, my mother currently works for the Fraser Institute – I always felt as though maybe something was wrong with me. My parents often couldn’t help but agree. “The things we thought would upset you didn’t upset you,” they’ve since told me. “But things that we didn’t think would matter made you get upset.”

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