Category Archives: Racism

Politics, Re-Spun on Coop Radio, 5.4.09, a Vista Video Podcast

On Monday, May 4, 2009, Politics, Re-Spun met Coop Radio on “The Rational”, a Monday evening issues program. This is the second visit, with the next scheduled for Monday, May 11th, the night before the BC provincial election.

Imtiaz Popat and I talked about the leaders debate last night, how horribly condescending and unprofessional Gordon Campbell was, how the parties are polling, why STV is so important, all parties’ environmental plans that generally need to be far more expansive and robust, how the BC Conservatives’ leader, Wilf Hanni, will beat BC Liberal Bill Bennett [not that Socred guy] in Kootenay East, the carbon tax, the Port Mann bridge, the Gateway project, who will win the election, how much corruption in candidates the BC Liberals tolerate, why Mel Lehan will likely defeat Gordon Campbell in Point Grey, John van Dongen’s teflon political career, and the importance of voting on Wednesday to Saturday in the advance polls to set the trend of a higher voter turnout which will signal a change in government…so vote early! But we didn’t get to how Campbell cancelled his upcoming CBC radio debate with Carole James because of how poorly he did last night, and we again missed a chance to debrief the Billy Bob Thornton mayhem.

The video podcast of the conversation lives at Vista Video. 

You can watch it in Miro, the best new open source multimedia viewing software: http://www.miroguide.com/feeds/8832

or…

You can watch it in iTunes: itpc://dgivista.org/pod/Vista_Podcasts.xml

or…

The podcast file is at http://dgivista.org/pod/Coop.Radio.5.4.09.mov

Enjoy!

Stop Colombia From Privatization at Gun Point

In BC we know too well what a rabidly anti-union government can do to the lives of unionized and non-unionized working people. Colombia is the poster child in this hemisphere for extremism among these neoliberal, anti-human carnage-mongers. And our federal government wants to increase trade with this murderous regime!

It’s time to let Colombia–and our federal government–know that human beings deserve to be treated with dignity and respect.

Follow the link to read the details and email Colombian President Uribe to let him know that we won’t stand for this: Colombia liquidates Cali unions < Global Justice | CUPE.

Paul Moist is asking CUPE members to send email to president Alvaro Uribe Velez after riot police and soldiers evicted city workers in Cali, Colombia and liquidated their union.

Sixteen members of Cali’s public sector unions have been killed since 2004, including union executive Carlos Alberto Chicaiza Betancourt.

“This is privatization at gun point,” said Moist. “It’s chilling to think that the people who are doing this are those with whom our government has just signed a trade agreement.”

The Unanticipated Pricetag of Being an Olympic Corporate Sponsor

The Canadian Press: Threats against Olympic sponsors worry security officials.

They should be worried! I don’t know if they need to be $1b worried, but if you do the math, there is earned concern:

((The Olympics corporate welfare program) + (obscene reductions in government spending for human beings) + (radical and radicalized groups who object to the billions wasted on this spectacle, and what in our culture it has steamrollered) + (sponsors and government groups that flaunt their glee in the faces of those suffering) + (an opportunity to capture attention on a global scale)) x (an unpredictable economic depression [ooops, Great Recession]) = a perfect storm of wariness.

And while the CBC recently reported that the carnage that has become the lower mainland in the last 2 months is likely the playing out of choked distribution points in the Mexican drug war, the climate of fatal violence in and around Vancouver increases the likelihood of radicalized responses to the Olympics.

And if Gordon Campbell gets re-elected [by the way…did you know that Gordon Campbell hates you?] then we should all expect things to ramp up considerably once he implements his crowning agenda buoyed by being elected a third time!

— —

Threats against Olympic sponsors worry security officials

OTTAWA — Possible threats against sponsors of next year’s Vancouver Olympics have federal security agents wringing their hands over “extremist elements,” a newly released intelligence report reveals.

The report by the government’s threat assessment centre cites vandalism of a corporate backer’s premises, theft of the Games flag, and skirmishes between protesters and police during unveiling of the Olympic countdown clock.

The Royal Bank of Canada, a key Games sponsor, “has been named specifically in anarchist and anti-Olympic Internet postings,” notes the analysis, 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics: Terrorist Threat to Vancouver Area Facilities.

Between September 2007 and last May, anarchists claimed responsibility for four attacks in which large rocks were thrown through the windows of Vancouver Royal Bank branches, says the assessment under a section titled Domestic Non-Islamist Extremist Groups.

“Extremist elements . . . have publicly stated their intent to continue acts of protest and possible violence against both the Olympics and commercial symbols they perceive to represent the 2010 Olympic Games.”

The threat assessment also looks at Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaida network and radicals inspired by the terrorist movement, as well as “Lone Wolf” attackers like Kimveer Gill, a gunman who killed one student and wounded 19 others at Montreal’s Dawson College.

The document was prepared last July by the Integrated Threat Assessment Centre, which includes representatives of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, the RCMP and several other security and police agencies. A copy was recently released along with other assessments to The Canadian Press under the Access to Information Act.

Several portions of the threat assessments, labelled For Official Use Only, were withheld from disclosure.

Chris Shaw, spokesman for Games monitoring group 2010watch, found the reports amateurish.

“This is the best they can do?” he asked.

“These guys need to get a serious grip, frankly. I think they’re really confusing legitimate political dissent, however disruptive it might be, with a threat. And it’s simply not.”

More than 5,000 athletes are expected from 80 countries at the Winter Games, to begin next February in Vancouver and Whistler, B.C.

Numerous activists, from aboriginal groups to anti-poverty fighters, oppose the Games, saying the expensive mega-event will hurt Vancouver’s poor, damage the environment and drain provincial coffers.

The cost of Games security has been pegged at $900 million, far more than the original estimate.

Organizers are depending on corporate sponsors including the Royal Bank to support and promote the Games, but their participation appears to have heightened fears they will become targets for those who claim the Olympics have come to symbolize money more than sport.

The threat assessment centre prepared two briefs last September on possible actions against the Canadian Pacific Spirit Train that travelled to Montreal from Vancouver to drum up Olympic enthusiasm.

“There have been calls to boycott companies and organizations which support or sponsor the upcoming games,” says one assessment. “Acts of vandalism, criminal mischief and trespass against sites associated to the Olympics and its sponsors have taken place and now protest action against the train is being encouraged.”

CSIS referred a request for comment to the B.C.-based integrated unit responsible for Games security. However, a unit spokesman did not return phone calls.

Shaw fears the threat assessments cold be used to justify cracking down on groups that oppose the Games.

“No one knows who threw the rocks through the (Royal Bank) windows,” he said. “Just because somebody’s posted something to some obscure blog . . . assuming that therefore you’re dealing with anti-2010 anarchist protesters, to use their term, is just absurd.

“If the police knew who’d done it, they would have arrested them, and they haven’t. So it could be anybody.”

The Royal Bank refused an interview request, but said in a statement it believes most people don’t support vandalism against sponsors, adding that the safety and security of employees, clients and suppliers are the bank’s top priorities.

“We have numerous security measures in place to protect them and will continue to assess and enhance our security procedures as required,” the bank said.

“RBC respects the right of people to express their opinions as long as it is done in a peaceful and respectful manner. We accept that there will always be critics; we would only hope that criticism will be constructive and truthful.”

Your Ignorance and Lack of Empathy

To Mindelle Jacobs:

Your lack of empathy for structural abuse and discrimination against women is only superseded by your ignorance of the realities of the plight of millions of women in Canada.

Despite many reality-challenged “facts” you seem to believe, the fact that you believe Canada to be a nation that has moved beyond racism and colonialism means your qualifications to comment on Canadian society are completely lacking. I am ashamed of your ability to spout such ignorance in Canadian media.

http://www.edmontonsun.com/News/Columnists/Jacobs_Mindelle/2006/09/24/1888704.html

Despair over cuts to women’s groups

By Mindelle Jacobs

The way critics are wailing over possible cuts to women’s programs, you’d think the Harper government was preparing to force females into burkas.

One group, the National Association of Women and the Law, closed down earlier this month because it didn’t get federal funding.

The little-known Canadian Feminist Alliance for International Action thought it was going to have to close last week. But its grant application was approved on Thursday, it announced on its website.

So much for those women-bashing Tories, eh?

Still, the movers and shakers in the women’s movement are waiting with baited breath to see if Status of Women Canada, a federal agency that bankrolls women’s groups and promotes gender equality, is on the chopping block.

If it gets the boot, will the rights of Canadian women be in danger? Will their life choices be curtailed? Hardly. Women in this country are better off than ever before.

This endless quest for gender equality is quite tiresome at a time when virtually all the significant barriers to women’s accomplishment have been smashed.

In my mind, the one major remaining roadblock in the path to women’s equality is the lack of a national day-care program. But, given the Tories’ unwavering opposition to such an initiative, that is a battle for another day.

That issue aside, the left-wing crowd is working itself into fits of despair at the thought of cutbacks to women’s organizations.

“This government clearly has no interest in the status of women,” bleated NDP MP Irene Mathyssen on Wednesday.

That’s right. The Harper government will be banning girls from school, prohibiting birth control and ordering up burkas any day now.

Get a grip. Yes, some women are having a hard time of it. And women’s groups are quick to blame systemic societal barriers. Nonsense. Bad choices lead to miserable lives.

If a woman studies hard and goes to law school, she will have far more financial autonomy than most men. Her decision to challenge herself is the key.

A woman who gets pregnant, drops out of school and hangs out with losers has less opportunity in life. But that’s not society’s fault.

One of Status of Women Canada’s main goals is improving women’s economic autonomy. But do we need a federal agency to tell women to stay in school and make wise career choices?

The agency also puts out mind-numbing reports, like the recent one on gender equality.

The paper harps about the ongoing pay gap between men and women, without pointing out that men tend to choose higher-paying jobs because they’re socialized to be the breadwinners.

It’s disingenuous to complain that women working full time only earn about 70 cents for every dollar men make if you’ve deliberately chosen to work as, say, a low-paid restaurant hostess.

Status of Women Canada also supports the loony idea of placing “gender specialists” in federal departments to measure the impact of proposed policies on the equality of women.

I’d say that’s not the best use of our tax dollars.

Before it lost its funding, the National Association of Women and the Law worked “to end racism and colonialism.” Yeah, there’s a lot of that happening in Canada.

Poverty, violence and discrimination “which still affect all too many women” require specific legislative measures, the Canadian Feminist Alliance for International Action wrote Bev Oda, the minister responsible for the status of women, recently.

The open letter was signed by 31 women’s groups that supposedly represent Canadian women. But 22 of the organizations are from Quebec.

If we really want to help marginalized women, let’s put money into concrete initiatives like Head Start programs, affordable housing and retraining grants. Enough of the gender-equality navel-gazing.

– mjacobs@edmsun.com

E-mail Mindy Jacobs at mjacobs@edmsun.com.
Letters to the editor should be sent to mailbag@edmsun.com.