May 18: Abby Deshman on the review of police conduct during the 2010 G20; Tim McSorley on Bill 78 and the Quebec student strike

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It’s never what should I cover on Friday, rather, it’s how to choose from all that’s going on that’s the big “problem” – there was the NATO summit in Chicago with thousands of activists at the summit, there is the report out on the police during the 2010 G20 that is pretty scathing, and the student strike in Quebec is certainly heating up further as the Charest government moves to make illegal the right to assemble, proving once again that the state will always use violence in any form when it can’t break rightful protests in other ways.  In the first half hour Abby Deshman, Public Safety Director with the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, was on the line from Toronto  to speak on the long awaited report on policing during the G-20 summit. In the second half hour, we heard from Montreal Media Coop editor Tim McSorley on the Quebec student strike and how the Charest government is  moving to criminalize  the movement with bans on assembly and fines in the tens of thousands of dollars.

In this clip Abby Deshman outlines the role of the CCLA during the G20 and the push to have a full review:

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Here Deshman discusses the need for accountability along with transparency and what can be expected out of this report. As well, she warns against conflating the terms terrorist and protester and that the hearings to come may not be sufficiently independent:

Click image to view report on G20 policing. (Photo: Jonas Naimark, The Globe and Mail: police kettling operation, June 27, 2012, Toronto)


Quebec’s Bill 78 is titled  “the Act to enable students to receive instruction from the post-secondary institutions they attend.” According to a CBC report, the bill “lays out strict regulations governing student protests and contains provisions for stiff fines. Fines range from $7,000 to $35,000 for a student leader and between $25,000 and $125,000 for unions or student federations if someone is prevented from entering an educational institution. Bill 78 also lays out strict regulations governing student protests. Any group of 10 persons or more to give at least eight hours notice to police for any demonstration. Tim McSorley gave us an update on what was happening with the Quebec student’s strike:

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Apr. 27: Tova Perlmutter and Rolly Marentette and Day of Mourning; Tim McSorley and the Quebec student strike; and Rockin Robbee in the studio on guitar

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On Friday’s program my guests and I had a discussion about the  International Day of Mourning for those Workers Killed, Injured or made Ill on the Job, which occurred on Saturday, April 28th. 

Windsor Day of Mourning. (Photo: Paul Chislett)

Workplace safety was again highlighted this year with a day of mourning in Windsor and Detroit and around the country. Statistics show that thousands of workers die every year and millions are injured. We get a glimpse of these statistics each time there are deaths such as the migrant workers killed earlier in the year in Southwestern Ontario, Kent Morton, who fell from the bridge, the two recent sawmill explosions in BC, and the three VIA rail engineers killed earlier in the year. More hidden are workers suffering and dying from exposure to toxic substances.

 Workers do recognize their responsibility to work safely and too often in this climate of attacks on the rights of workers and deregulation (or self regulation as the corporate PR people would have us believe) workplace safety is being pushed aside leaving workers – especially young workers – vulnerable to death and injury. Joint Health and Safety committees in union workplaces are the norm and in some non-union shops as well. Without them and the regular meetings and safety checks it is too easy to slip into bad habits and risky shortcuts. In all too many workplaces, no such regular training exists. The thing is, by bringing workers together for health and safety training and updating, workers tend to “reset” themselves and focus, even if just for an hour, on making sure they and their fellow workers are working safely and their managers are doing their part as well – it’s a form of bonding creating a sense that we are all in this together. Forever and a day, that workers should get paid time to increase their sense of solidarity has never sat well with any employer. Health and Safety Committees are another feature of working class history that had to be fought for and that fight included preventable deaths and catastrophic injury for decades in various workplaces.

In this clip, Perlmutter and Marentette describe their organizations and their relevance:

L to R: Rolly Marentette, Rockin Robbee, Tova Perlmutter (Photo: Paul Chislett)

Rockin’ Robbee sings Peace Love and Understanding:

 In the studio was Tova Perlmutter, Executive Director of the Maurice and Jane Sugar Law Centre for Economic and Social Justice in Detroit, and Rolly Marentette, Chair of Windsor’s Injured Workers Coalition. As well, Rockin’ Robbee was in for his regular last Friday of the month sound treat.

Here, Perlmutter briefly explains some aspects of US labour law, and Marentette lays out the numbers for workers killed and injured in the most dangerous occupations:

Perlmutter here puts US deaths and injuries into perspective:

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In the second half hour I spoke with Tim McSorley of the Montreal Media Co-op about the Quebec students’ strike: 

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