Dec. 21, 2012: Jode Kechego on Idle No More in Ottawa; Rayven Howard live in studio; CodePink’s Tighe Barry protests at NRA “press conference”

Click image for more on OPIRG Windsor
Click image for more on OPIRG Windsor
This book was influential for me and is a good place to start in understanding why Idle no More is gaining steam
This book was influential for me and is a good place to start in understanding why Idle no More is gaining steam

Listen to entire program here:

Local photographer Doug MacLellan was in the studio and took some shots that you can see HERE

Idle no more

Today there is a swirl of news, from the Friday NRA news conference announcing that organization’s call for armed police in all schools to prevent another shooting tragedy, to the growing strength of the Idle No More movement and the hunger strike by Chief Theresa Spence, to the simmering problems in this city and province around joblessness, poverty and the growing gap between rich and poor.

As the last echoes of the Occupy movement rippled away, the ruling class quickly moved to regain control of the agenda and soon the drum beat of austerity, Austerity, AUSTERITY! began to take the place of demands for equality and real democracy.

It seems the masses were a little too ready to take to the streets in 2011, and ‘austerity’, or the move to solidify the global corporate stranglehold on the Earth’s resources and people, was tightened using war, extra-judicial killings by drones and special forces in the U.S., and legislative abuses in Canada to kill the power of labour, enact racist bills against immigrants and migrant workers, and  end social programs have become the order of the day.

 Where the Occupy movement failed to galvanize people, the Idle No More movement raises the hope that a coalition of First Nations people, working people, environmentalists, labour unions and political activists will be able to blunt the abuse of power the Harper and (in Ontario) McGuinty governments are responsible for; the former for omnibus bills like C-45 and anti-worker legislation, and the latter for pure dereliction of duty.

Harper’s abuse of process, while relatively recent for the majority of Canadians, is following the same colonialist foot path of the past which First Nations have been struggling against for centuries. Their fight is our fight, but non-First Nations people need to find our own rallying call and unite to help defeat the corporate agenda, of which the prime minister is key spokesperson for.

I spoke with Jode Kechego, author and policy analyst for Anishinabek Nation. He described the Idle No More rally in Ottawa on Friday, First Nations issues, and Chief Theresa Spence’s hunger strike, which he described as the Chief’s fulfillment of her duty as a leader of her people rather than a tactic or strategy:

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Rayven Howard CJAM Dec 21 2012Rayven Howard in the CJAM studio Dec 21 2012 (Photo: Paul Chislett)

Rayven marked the holiday season for The ShakeUp with her versions of classic holiday tunes The Little Drummer Boy and O Holy Night. She closed off with her original composition, The Game of Life

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Earlier in the day on Friday I listened to part of the NRA response to the shootings in Newtown, Connecticut. Like many, I was sickened by the diatribe imposed by National Rifle Association executive vice president Wayne LaPierre in the so called press conference.

Click image for OpEdNews coverage of this action
Click image for OpEdNews coverage of this action

  However, at that press conference, CodePink, a “women-initiated grassroots peace and social justice movement” had activists who interrupted the press conference calling out that the NRA “had blood on its hands”.  Tighe Barry participated in the action with CodePink co-founder Medea Benjamin and I spoke to him about his actions

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I hope you enjoyed CJAM’s 3rd annual Joe Strummer Day on Saturday highlighting poverty and oppression. I was on a panel discussion hosted by Rose City Politics’ Kieran McKenzie with Adam Vasey and Jody Percy. You can hear that segment here:

Click image to find out more about Strummerville
Click image to find out more about Strummerville

Sample track: Gangsterville:

Dec 14, 2012: Ellen Gabriel and First Nations’ relationship with Canada; John Fraser and housing as a human right; sounds of Idle No More in Windsor, On.

Click image for more on OPIRG Windsor
Click image for more on OPIRG Windsor

Listen to entire program here:

Idle no more

Between Dec 2-4th , the Assembly of First Nations held a Special Chiefs Assembly in Gatineau,Quebec intended to develop a “consensus on fundamental issues and common interests in relation to First Nation- Crown relations, international relations and partnerships”. The issues included “health and wellness, claims and land rights, education, residential schools, First Nation governments, environment and economic partnerships, community development and safety and social development and child welfare.” 

During the assembly the Chiefs went to Parliament in an effort to let the Harper government know that First Nations are not going to remain silent as Harper and his ministers ignore First Nation’s concerns. There was even a brief altercation between the Chiefs and security guards who pushed the Chiefs away as they attempted to move further into the House of Commons.

They did speak with Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver regarding Bill C 45, another massive omnibus type bill that strips the Navigable Waters Act of much of its power leaving thousands of lakes and rivers vulnerable.

 Ellen Gabriel is a well known and respected advocate for First Nations as well as a candidate this year during the election of Grand Chief of the Assembly of First Nations. She’s spoke to me from Montreal on several aspects of the relationship between First Nations and Canada including the dramatic hunger strike by Chief Theresa Spence:


Idle No More, Windsor, On. Dec. 13, 2012
Larry Johnson, former Chief of Caldwell First Nation speaks at rally in downtown Windsor
Larry Johnson, former Chief of Caldwell First Nation speaks at rally in downtown Windsor (Photo: Paul Chislett)

His message is here:

Idle No More downtown Windsor (Photo: Paul Chislett)
Idle No More downtown Windsor (Photo: Paul Chislett)

“… I’m protecting you…”:

Idle No More gathered near Windsor city hall
Idle No More gathered near Windsor city hall

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Housing is a Human Right

According to their website, the  Centre for Equality Rights in Accommodation (CERA) “is the only organization in Canada dedicated to promoting human rights in housing and ending housing discrimination.

CERA carries out this work through public education, research, law reform, human rights casework, test case litigation and using international human rights law and mechanisms.

We also have special consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council.”

housing_right_sign

As well, “CERA has been working closely with the Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario (ACTO), the Social Rights Advocacy Centre, private bar lawyers Peter Rosenthal and Fay Faraday on a historic Charter of Rights and Freedoms challenge that seeks to address homelessness and inadequate housing in Canada and Ontario.

Formerly and currently homeless Ontarians launched the landmark legal challenge against the federal and provincial governments at the end of May 2010. The case seeks a Court declaration that Canada and Ontario have violated their rights under section 7 and section 15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms by creating and maintaining conditions that lead to and sustain homelessness and inadequate housing.”

I spoke with John Fraser, Executive Director of CERA and he described in more detail the work of the organization:

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Featured CD

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Click image for more on this artist

Sample track: “Dangerous Madness”

Dec 7, 2012: Amnesty International Canada’s Beth Berton-Hunter & Human Rights Day; John Clarke & provincial cuts to social assistance

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Listen to entire program here:

Amnesty International is perhaps the most well-known human rights organization, and for Human Rights Day it is sponsoring a Write for Rights campaign.  You are invited to “join individual letter writers across the country and around the world by taking some time on or around Human Rights Day, December 10th to write cards and letters in support of human rights. It’s quick and easy to sign up and Write for Rights on Human Rights Day, December 10th.”

Click image to sign up to Write for Rights
Click image to sign up to Write for Rights

I spoke with Beth Berton-Hunter, Media Relations spokesperson with Amnesty International Canada. Here she describes the work of AI and the effect of the letter writing campaign:

AI fundraising has included the CD Instant Karma. Click image below for more:

Instant Karma

“Get Your Yellow On” by clicking image below:

Amnesty logo

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Voices Against Poverty and allies spoke to “Dollton” McGuinty during a riverfront walk on Aug. 19th calling attention to cuts to CSUMB. It’s not too late to help – click on image for the Call in Coffee Break campaign. Click image for more. (Photo: Paul Chislett)
Voices Against Poverty and allies spoke to “Dollton” McGuinty
during a riverfront walk on Aug. 19th calling attention to cuts to CSUMB. It’s not too late to help – click on image for the Call in Coffee Break campaign. Click image for more. (Photo: Paul Chislett)

I spoke to John Clarke of OCAP, the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty, which is taking a leading role in the fight against the planned cuts to the Community Start Up & Maintenance Benefit.

 Briefly, the benefit is a crucial tool that prevents homelessness by allowing people already homeless get started with furniture, food, and the like, and for those on social assistance and at risk of homelessness to make use of the benefit to leave abusive relationships, make utility payments, get rid of  bug infested furniture, for example.

The provincial government had announced in the budget earlier this year that 50% of CSUMB money would be folded into a new homelessness and housing initiative that Ontario cities are still in the dark over. Vulnerable people are again under attack. It’s not a cut the government says, but the reality seems quite different:

Featured CD

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Click image for more info on this band.

Sample track: “I thought I Saw“: 

Nov 30, 2012: Free Swims & Fundraising for Windsor Youth Centre; Lottie Spady and Detroit’s Hantz Farms’ land grab

UPDATE ON HANTZ WOODLANDS STORY AND COMMUNITY FIGHTBACK TO ESTABLISH A COMMUNITY RUN LAND TRUST RUN BY NEIGHBOURHOOD COUNCIL:

 

In the first half hour I spoke to CUPE 543 President  Mark VanderVoort and Mike Gibbons, OPIRG board member and President of the Social Justice Club on campus about their organizations’ plans for fundraising for the Windsor Youth Coalition. As well, VanderVoort announces free swims in area pools sponsored by CUPE 543:

Next Free Swim:

Date: Saturday, December 8, 2012

 Place: Windsor Water World, 400 Wyandotte Street East

 Time: 12:30 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.

 For more information, please contact:

 Mark Vander Voort, President, CUPE 543, 519-903-5515

 Kevin Wilson, CUPE Communications, 416-821-6641

CUPE 543 President Mark VanderVoort and Social Justice Club President Mike Gibbons CJAM Studios
CUPE 543 President Mark Vander Voort and Social Justice Club President Mike Gibbons CJAM Studios

In addition to giving residents the chance to make a splash at community pools, Local 543 will also be fundraising on behalf of the Windsor Youth Centre (WYC), which supports homeless and at-risk youth in the community. Copies of WYC’s book “What is a Home” will be available for purchase at the free swim. WYC clients and supporters will also be assisting Local 543 during the free swims.

OPIRG Windsor and the Social Justice Club are helping to sponsor this WYC fundraiser on Friday Dec 7th at the Dominion House in Sandwich:

Click image for event details
                                                                   Click HERE for event details
Click image to find out how and what to donate to the Centre
Click image to find out how and what to donate to the Centre

 

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In Detroit, Hantz Farms is a locally owned Limited Liability Company with a mission to “help people achieve their life dreams, and to build more sustainable communities.”

As part of this mandate the company is looking to buy about 170 acres in Detroit’s lower east side so as to plant “… trees and ornamental plants [to] provide the city with revenue from the sale of surplus property, [thereby] improve[ing] [the]quality of life in surrounding neighborhoods, and reduce city operating costs by transferring maintenance costs to a private sector company.”

On the surface this sounds good as the company is promising to remove “…city-owned blighted structures [and] [b]rush that has grown in alleyways. [As well,] fence rows will be removed to improve neighborhood beauty and safety. Illegally dumped debris will be cleaned up as part of the process of re-purposing land. Costs of cleanup work will be recovered over several years through tax credit agreements.

In effect, Hantz Woodlands will be prepaying property taxes for the land they would purchase, with the investment being focused on addressing long-standing neighborhood needs.”

These quotes are from the preamble to a petition the company has promoted to garner local support for their plans. Recently Detroit city council deferred a decision on the Hantz deal until a public meeting can be held on Dec 10th.

Detroit city Council will look at the deal again on Dec 11th.

On the line from Detroit was Lottie Spady, Associate Director of the East Michigan Environmental Action Council. I spoke with her about concerns many people and organizations have about this plan.

Hantz Notice

In the audio clip, Spady outlined what lands are for sale, the confusion over the process by which vacant lots can be purchased – confusion because it is difficult for people to buy neighbouring vacant lots while a corporation seems able to scoop up 170 acres worth of property. She describes the “mow and grow” strategy of Hantz which has people scratching their heads.

Overall, the concern is over what Spady describes as the “enclosure of the commons” and what precedent this land deal will set for the rest of the city in the future:

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Featured CD:

Click image for more on this artist
                                      Click image for more on this artist

Sample Track: Scent of the Bloom: