I’m singing in hell

I’m singing in hell

This is a place where my City Councillor invokes
UN property rights instead of human rights
for the 130 people evicted
from a rundown apartment block
destined for demolition,

where the Mayor, hell-bent on the erection
of Pat’s Palace and a domed stadium
over social housing, believes he’s a big man,

where the Province slowly slits the wrists
of the homeless shelter in North Battleford
eases its way out of funding social programs,

where the country is led by a Stalinist who bullies
women, environmentalists, blames First Nations
communities, the victims of a system of Apartheid
for their own poverty and who decimates the lives
of those who dare to challenge his decrees,

(Think nuclear: Linda Keen. Think military:
Richard Colvin. Think tarsands: Andrew Frank.)

I’m in a place where I know the world wants better
but is blocked
and expected to kiss the ass of the corporate brass
who own our governments,
who know the score,
pay the piper
and call the tune.

But be damned if I’ll sing that song!
Hell no! I’m singing
We shall not be moved,
Solidarity Forever,
Give peace a chance.

And I’m not alone

Hell no! We’re singing together,
back to the future, into the next seven generations
because we will not be moved,
because our solidarity will last forever
because we will give peace a chance
until this hell transforms

and we’re living our dreams of living in
a sustainable global society founded on
respect for nature, universal human rights,
economic justice, and a culture of peace.”1

——
1 From The Earth Charter and recorded by Carolyn McDade & Friends on the CD, My Heart Is Moved

Advertisements

Gender Equality : Canada slips from 14th to 18th place

Let’s all take a moment to thank Prime Minister Steve for his assistance in moving Canadian women backwards on the road to gender equality. Tell him how much you appreciate him making your life, the lives of our mothers, sisters and daughters, worse. Tell him we knew he could do it. And tell him we can hardly wait to see what he’ll do to us if he ever gets that sacred majority!

May it never come to fruition!

Canada slips from 14th to 18th place in world rankings on gender equality

GENEVA – Canada has slipped a little compared with the rest of the world in providing
gender equality, according to a study by the World Economic Forum released Thursday.

Frank Jordans, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

The annual study ranking 128 countries found Canada had slipped four spots to 18th place
compared with last year.

Nordic countries received the best marks for gender parity in education, employment,
health and politics.

Sweden, which has more women then men holding high public office, topping the list. It
was following in order by Norway, Finland and Iceland.

New Zealand, the Philippines, Germany, Denmark, Ireland, and Spain rounded out the top
10.

The United States finished in 31st spot, down eight places from last year.

Based on a scale in which perfect equality was assigned a score of 1.0, Canada achieved
an overall mark of 0.72.

That included almost perfect marks in the categories of educational attainment (0.999)
and health and survival (0.979).

But it scored lower on economic participation and opportunity (0.74) and much lower
(0.159) on political empowerment, with women making up only 21 per cent of MPs and 23
per cent of cabinet posts in Parliament.

Full article

Who’s renting the busses?

Well, I guess Dubya is flexing some muscle over PM Steve these days.

And, apparently, it’s all because of Maude Barlow and the Council of Canadians, the ones some radio personality around here is writing off as an extremist radicals. Now, I don’t know about you, but from my recollection of Maude Barlow the last time she was through here, she’s a pretty tame duck. And she tends to talk a lot of sense, most particularly on water and globalization, I had thought.

Now there’s this issue of North American Union aka Security & Prosperity Partnership aka deep integration. The idea’s been around for a long time, just not so brilliantly orchestrated or articulated. We’ve had “structural adjustment,” the Free Trade Agreement and NAFTA, just a few bits of the language global economics and capitalist ideology have thrown our way as they continue in their lust for more, their disgusting and immoral misuse of resources and promotion of rampant consumerism.

And PM Steve is priming Canadians to accept it while big business works behind the scenes to quietly make it happen. PMS (and a PM or two or more before him) also kowtows yet again to the President of the United States of America, allows the US Army to dictate security in our country! Again, I don’t know about you, but I know I don’t like it when a mucky-muck from another country, most particularly an aggressively violent other country is “protected” by a 25 km security perimeter from seeing what Canadians really think of him and his policies. I mean, is he worried that Maude might kill him? Now that is laughable!

What really gets my goat though is when friends of the mucky-mucks have the complete and utter stupidity to issue a challenge, as reported in the Ottawa Citizen:

“You can be sure it [security] will be pretty strong. I wouldn’t advise anyone to try to get through the 25 kilometres.”

Yet again, I do not know about you, but when I get challenges or threats sent my way by anyone, I get persnickedy. So, I’d like to try breaching the security area. I would. I hope some fine Canadian or group of Canadians charters a bus or organizes a train full of Canadians to get me and a whole lot of others to bring attention to this undemocratic and unethical attack on human rights and human security.

In the meantime, I guess I’ll write the letter The Council of Canadians are asking for (see below). And I’ll talk to a shwack of folks, too. If enough of us make noise, we might just succeed in getting that meeting cancelled. If not, I will see you on the bus or train.

 

INTEGRATE THIS! Teach-In

.

ACTION ALERT: Stop SPP talks, consult with Canadians now July 12, 2007Dear activists,As reported on the front-page of the Ottawa Citizen and in numerous other media reports, “Police have derailed plans for a public forum on the Security and Prosperity Partnership that was to take place six kilometres from where the leaders of Canada, Mexico and the U.S. will gather next month for a summit.” (See Ottawa Citizen Police nix meeting near world leaders, July 12, 2007)The news report states, “The forum was scheduled for August 19, the day before Prime Minister Stephen Harper, U.S. President George W. Bush and Mexican President Felipe Calderon are due to start two days of meetings on the security partnership, a controversial initiative aimed at more closely aligning the three countries in a variety of areas.”

Frederic Castonguay, the municipality of Papineauville’s general manager, “confirmed he had been called by Mr. Guy Cote (of the Quebec provincial police), who told him that the police and U.S. army need the community centre as a base of operations for summit security.” Despite the fact that the Council of Canadians had paid its $100 deposit for the space, Mr. Castonguay said the police, “didn’t want us to rent it to anyone because they need the room there to put equipment and special vehicles. There was no choice.”

The Council of Canadians in coalition with other organizations, including the Canadian Labour Congress, the Canadian Union of Public Employees, the Communications, Energy & Paperworkers Union of Canada, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, the Canadian Union of Postal Workers, Common Frontiers-Canada and the Quebec Network on Continental Integration, had planned to hold a public forum on the Security and Prosperity Partnership in the nearby community with Maude Barlow and a panel of writers, academics and parliamentarians. This public forum was intended to promote broader public awareness and citizen engagement on this important issue. An alternate location for the public forum is now being sought.

Linda McQuaig wrote recently in the Toronto Star, “Given the centrality of (national security and energy, as well as trade), one would have thought that any changes – especially changes that would make Canada more like the U.S. – should involve wide consultation with the Canadian people. But exactly the opposite is happening. The public has been completely shut out of the SPP process…No public consultations have been planned for Montebello. Indeed, security measures will ensure the leaders hear as little as possible from the people.”

For more information on the Council of Canadians campaign against the Security and Prosperity Partnership, along with a wide range of analysis and background materials on this issue, please go to IntegrateThis.ca.

THE DEMAND
Activists are encouraged to send their own version of the following message to Prime Minister Stephen Harper at pm@pm.gc.ca or click here to send a letter using the form on our website
:

Prime Minister Harper,

As a member of the Council of Canadians, I am calling on you to stop talks on the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America, including the upcoming leaders summit this August 20-21 in Montebello, and to consult with Canadians on this critical issue.

I was outraged to read that a public forum near Montebello with writers, academics and parliamentarians wanting to speak on this issue was blocked because the police and U.S. army wanted the community centre it was to be held at as a base of operations for summit security.

I am opposed to the SPP, which includes the no-fly list (the SPP states, “Develop comparable standards and procedures…for passenger screening”); pesticide residues (it says, “Work to resolve differences in pesticide maximum residue limits that may be barriers to trade…”); the tar sands (it calls for, “Greater economic production from the oil sands”); and civil rights (it calls for, “sharing of terrorist watch list data and the establishment of appropriate linkages between Canada, the United States and Mexico.”)

I also believe that the North American Competitiveness Council should be disbanded. Corporations such as Manulife Financial, Home Depot and Wal-Mart should not be shaping economic policy between Canada and the United States.

I urge you to keep the promise you made in your Throne Speech that “significant international treaties will be submitted for votes in Parliament.” I believe that the Security and Prosperity Partnership should be subject to public hearings, as well as brought to the House of Commons for a full debate and vote.

I look forward to your response.

Sincerely,
<your name>

For more information about the Security and Prosperity Partnership, visit IntegrateThis.ca. We’ll post new information about the Montebello summit as it becomes available. Visit often for up-to-the-minute updates

With thanks to the good women and men at BnR and to The Council of Canadians for the links.

The poor get poorer and the rich, richer

What most living in poverty already know:  they’re getting poorer.  And, what we suspected: the rich are getting richer.

“Average family market income among the 10% of families with the highest incomes rose by 22% from 1989 to 2004. Meanwhile, among the 10% of families with the lowest incomes, it fell by 11%.”

http://www.statcan.ca/Daily/English/070511/d070511b.htm

And who is that predominates in that lowest income category?  Yes, women.  And we can thank both the Libs and the Cons for that.  What a great legacy, eh?

Grrrr….
See also:

http://www.statcan.ca/bsolc/english/bsolc?catno=11F0019MIE2007298

http://www.statcan.ca/english/research/11F0019MIE/11F0019MIE2007298.htm

http://www.statcan.ca/english/research/11F0019MIE/11F0019MIE2007298.pdf

Thanks to Luke at B’n’R for the heads-up.

Fire the Wolf

From the inbox:

Dear Avaaz Member,

The battle for the Presidency of the World Bank is coming to a climax, and it’s a replay of the Iraq war: George Bush and Paul Wolfowitz vs the World. The world is on the verge of winning this time — and we can help tip the balance.

On Monday Wolfowitz will testify before the Bank Board. At the same time, Bush will meet with European leaders to decide his fate. We need one last push to build our petition before we deliver it on Monday. Click below to sign it and pass it on to 5 friends:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/sack_wolfowitz

Our YouTube campaign against Wolfowitz’s misleadership of the Bank has gone viral with over 100,000 views, and has been covered by USA Today, the Washington Post, and the Guardian (UK). World Bank staff have also been circulating it on their internal staff lists.

All the pressure is working. Governments around the world, the World Bank Staff Association, even Wolfowitz’s own deputies believe he should resign. The World Bank is far from perfect. Some of its policies have helped alleviate poverty; others have made things worse. But fixing it is urgently important for the world’s poor — and no progress is possible so long as Wolfowitz is in charge.

Let’s win this one. Sign the petition, and send it to five of your friends. It’s time to show Bush that the world won’t stand for Wolfowitz to stay.

http://www.avaaz.org/en/sack_wolfowitz

With hope,

Ben, Galit, Ricken, and the rest of the Avaaz team

PS: For more information about the Wolfowitz case and the facts mentioned in this email, check out our blog

Fed Budget 07: Families fell under the radar

Commentary on the recent federal budget from the National Council of Women of Canada (NCWC) is below.  Founded in 1893, NCWC is a non-sectarian, non-partisan federation of voluntary organizations, whose goal is to improve the quality of life for women, and society, through education and advocacy.

Ottawa, March 22, 2007
*                                                    MEDIA RELEASE*

*                                        NCWC Responds to March 19th
Federal Budget*

For all of Finance Minister Flaherty’s rhetoric about “hard-working families,” * lower income hard-working families once again fell under the Conservative radar* in a budget which is geared to the middle and upper-middle classes.

* A family who’s income is $30,000. or less does not qualify for any
tax relief for  children up to age 18. The non-refundable $320.
tax benefit translates into about $25.00 per month for those who
do qualify.

* The $100. per month for a child under 6 is considered taxable
income, further the Provinces are not impeded from clawing back
the amount as they did for the child tax credit in the past.

* These families *are not* in a position to contribute to an RESP
when they can barely manage to meet their living expenses!

* The government did not lower the income tax rate from 15.5%, which
would have helped lower-income families.

*This budget fails* those many Canadian families raising their children on less than $30,000 a year; worse than that, it gives them no hope.

*                                        No hope and no child care!*

The budget states: “Many older Canadians want to continue working and saving” Clearly the government does not understand that the word is “*need*” not “want.”  The majority of those “older” Canadians working minimum wage jobs are women who “need” to work because the pensions (OAS and CPP) are woefully inadequate.

This budget fails to provide funding for the type of specific Aboriginal initiatives that provide programs for Aboriginal women and children.  What good is job training if there are no jobs?

No change to eligibility rules for Employment Insurance means that the government continues to amass huge surpluses in their coffers, while:

* *1 in 3* unemployed women qualify to collect benefits, down from
70% in 1990.
* *4 in 10* unemployed workers qualify to collect EI benefits, down
from 80% in 1990.

The *dismantling* by this government *of Status of Women Canada* is of grave concern to women in this country.

* The *closure* of 12 out of 16 regional offices.

* The *removal* from the mandate of the Women’s Program of the words
*equality*“, “*research*” and “*advocacy*“.
While the government has allotted more money to the program – $20 million over the next two years — this includes the 5 million budget reduction that was later reallocated –  the money cannot be accessed for research or advocacy purposes, but *is now accessible to for-profit *corporations.

Qualifying projects appear to have been reduced to service delivery. How can we address systemic inequalities for women when no provisions are made for research to determine the root causes and for advocacy to make the changes that would eliminate the need for “service delivery programs”?
*Once again*, this government *fails to deliver to those who need help the most*: women, children, seniors and Aboriginals.    Predictably, it gives more to those who already have more.

_____________________________30_________________________________

For more information please contact *Karen Dempsey, NCWC Vice President Economics,* through our Head Office or at (902)422-8485.

The National Council of Women of Canada (NCWC) is a non-sectarian, non-partisan federation of voluntary organizations, whose goal is to improve the quality of life for women, and society, through education and advocacy.  NCWC was founded in 1893 and has played a leading role in many of the milestones reached in Canadian social history. Responding to a variety of interests embraced by its affiliates, NCWC has often been a leader in presenting developing issues to the government.  From women’s equality to children’s rights, public health reforms to inner-city playgrounds, consumer protection to citizenship work, the concerns of NCWC have been wide ranging and its influence far reaching. For more information, consult our web site at www.ncwc.ca.  As an NGO, we hold Consultative Status (II) with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.
NATIONAL COUNCIL OF WOMEN OF CANADA
205 — 251 Bank Street, Ottawa, Ontario   K2P 1X3
Tel: (613)232-5025