Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Monday, November 29, 2010
Sunday, November 28, 2010
Saturday, November 27, 2010
Oil in Eden: The Battle to Protect Canada's Pacific Coast from Pacific Wild on Vimeo.
Open Letter to Jody Whitney,
Manager, Aboriginal Consultation & Regulatory Compliance, BC Region
Enbridge Pipelines Inc.
Box 50, One Bentall Centre
Suite 660, 505 Burrard St.
Tel 604 694 7750
Fax 604 694 7755
Cell 778 229 7039
Re: Enbridge Pipelines Inc "Community Consultation" -Oct 2010 Heiltsuk First Nation community of Bella Bella, BC
Dear Jody Whitney,
I haven't heard back from you since we met at your Enbridge Gateway Pipelines presentation to the Heiltsuk community of Bella Bella BC in October, during which you saw an overwhelming demonstration of emphatic and unanimous opposition to your corporation's appalling scheme to pipe tar sands oil products out to BC's pristine coastal waters.
Friday, November 26, 2010
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
It’s a strange relationship, really, placing such faith in someone who has the ability to inflict such indescribable pain. I suppose faith is what all relationships are about, in one way or another, there’s always a chance the pain component will outweigh the happy bits. But a person’s relationship with their dentist requires a leap of faith unlike any other.
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
International Day of Action to Stop Killer Coke's Labor & Human Rights Abuses, Saturday, December 11, 2010
On the International Day of Action, there will be 24 hours of programming on the "Stop Killer Coke" streaming channel. The programming will include interviews, protests, music and discussion throughout the world and it will be broadcast at the LaborTech 2010 conference being held at the University of San Francisco. The programming will be integrated with the conference and the channel will be embedded in other channels throughout the world.
Actions will take place around the world in solidarity with Coke workers and their families who have been systematically intimidated, kidnapped, tortured and murdered in many countries including Colombia and Guatemala (see "Coke's Crimes By Country" at http://www.KillerCoke.org).
As part of LaborTech.net, actions around the world will also be broadcast live on Labortech.net and on other portals. If you are going to have an event in solidarity with Coke workers on December 11, 2010 or want to upload an event you have had please contact
We will have a schedule of streamed events and it will be broadcast on www.justin.tv at and mirrored on LaborTech.net and other sites around the world. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com for further info on how to stream your event on this international day of action.
Also, contact us at info@KillerCoke.org to inform us of your plans to participate.http://killercoke.org
Monday, November 22, 2010
Sunday, November 21, 2010
Saturday, November 20, 2010
Friday, November 19, 2010
I’ve reached the end of my child-bearing years, and my body is preparing its demise.
But I defy you, earth bound body! My spirit is alive, and although I have not contributed to the proliferation of the species (and would willingly confront and debate the evolutionary energy that must now recognize 7 billion is enough), still I recognize I am made from earth and to earth I must return. Eventually. But not yet!
i live in the building this pole is leaning towards.
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
If a provincial election were held today, the B.C. Liberals would likely lose the Oak Bay-Gordon Head seat to the NDP and would be seriously challenged for second place in the riding by the resurgent B.C. Conservatives even though both the NDP and Conservatives are also beset with problems.
That is the trend indicated in an exclusive public opinion survey conducted by secret-ballot for Victoria Street Newz over a five-week period in 16 representative polling divisions across the riding. A random sample of 400 voters (25 in each polling area) cast ballots, with Jessica Van der Veen of the NDP obtaining 189 votes (47.3 per cent), current MLA Ida Chong of the BC Liberals 93 votes (23.3 per cent), the not-yet-chosen candidate of the B.C. Conservatives 87 votes (21.8 per cent) and Steven Johns of the Green Party 31 votes (7.8 per cent).
Monday, November 15, 2010
a facebook friend wrote:
"I'm staying with this family - have my own photos to post sometime soon. The tar sands waste flows right into the muskeg - its unbelievable, straight toxic sludge pouring into the waters with birds, beavers and other animals directly exposed, as well as Native hunters. Please share!"
Sunday, November 14, 2010
Thursday, November 11, 2010
In America it's Veterans' Day, here in Canada, the last outpost of the lost Empire we refer to November 11th as Remembrance Day, conveniently forgetting the original name and purpose of that remembrance. When it was first decided to stop everything for a moment on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of the year to meditate and reflect on the terrible meaning of war, remembering the tragedy and loss created by human conflict, it was called Armistice Day.
Listen to the speechifying here.
Click here for photos.
Armistice means a cessation of fighting, a literal standing down of armed forces for the purpose of negotiating a resolution to hostilities, and the beginning of an understanding that peaceful cooperation between people and nations is possible; it is a refutation of war, if only a temporary one.
It's little wonder then, in a world where war is the number one commodity, and the provision of the implements of violence the singlemost profitable pursuit, the concept of stopping that gravy train, if only for a single minute on the eleventh day of November, is something the war profiteers would rather no-one remember; it is not an acceptable concept.
So instead, we remember the veterans, without whom this long and lucrative legacy of murder and misery made for magnificent profits for the few could not possibly be sustained.
I'll go down to the "British Columbia" legislature, seat of the provincial government, located atop the territorial lands of the Lekwungen people, scattered and marginalized still. There, the colours will be trooped out. Martial bands will play, and cannon roar will echo in the harbour. There again, good Victorians will gather, adorned with paper poppies, to listen to bagpipes and the harangue of politicians, who remind, lest we forget, to remember the sacrifice made by men in uniforms. If the skies allow, military jets will scream overhead, deadening the senses, making reflection impossible in that moment, and army padres will lead prayers.
Beside the noise and celebration of destructions past, a small group will gather before a life-sized statue of a woman who holds high a laurel wreath, and in her other hand a dove ready for flight perches. That's her pictured above. It is the remembrance of the MacKenzie-Papineau Brigade, volunteers who defied the Canadian government of their day, travelling across the Atlantic to defend the Spanish Republicans from the fascists.
The folks gathered there will wear white poppies, marking a remembrance of the men, women, and children killed, maimed, and brutalized by war. They will remember that this day was never meant to glorify the soldiery who did the killing as well as the dying. They will remember the war meant remembering on Armistice Day was the War to End All Wars, and they will regard bitterly that unkept promise of peace.
Violence is the rule of the day now. It is the first resort of a military culture as ruthless as any Hun ever was who fired a mustard gas shell, or a president dropping an atom bomb. Violence is too the first resort of our government officials, who spend untold millions arming the police against the people, then loose them on the peaceful. Where provocation to "justify" this orgiastic violence is absent, agents provocateur are supplied, or "weapons of mass destruction" invented.
Today, we are sustained and entertained by violence. It has become the centre of economies, and preoccupation of our political process. Its primary organizational place in our society is beyond questioning, as is any contemplation of an alternative way to live our short lives here.
As the famously reptilian character, Gordon Gecko might say, "Violence is better than greed" because it makes more money, and it does so seemingly in perpetuity.
Canada has now been conducting politically motivated killings in Afghanistan for nine years. For nine Remembrance Days, good Canadians have ventured out into the cold November streets from Victoria to St. John's, reaffirming support of state violence and the organizations that sustain and maintain its domination of our society.
Told they are paying homage to those who died to "preserve our freedom," they make certain in their observances this Age of Violence will continue without cessation, without an armistice, for another year at least; endless wars that end nothing but the lives of the innocent and guilty alike.
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
My friend and I were walking along the west path of the UVic doggie park, adjacent to the Mystic Vale woods with two small dogs (a mini labradoodle and a bichon/poodle) and two standard poodles. Two dogs approached, their parents were about a city block away walking south along the path. The dogs began sniffing each other, as dogs do, and then one of the other dogs, a dark brown basenji looking dog (though with not a fully curled tail) began to attack the large male standard poodle, Luke. I think the attacking dog's name is Rocky, who had attacked Luke before when I was walking him a month or so ago.
Throughout this we had watched the dog walkers stroll along towards us, seemingly oblivious to what was going on, even though we were gesturing to them and their dog was growling and attacking. When finally they arrived, they asked what happened but did nothing to attempt to control the aggressive dog. They were also with a larger sheep dog who was calm and luckily the other dog had calmed down by this time too. My friend explained that the wiry dog had attacked her poodle and continued snarling at him even when he was down on his back in a submissive position.
Monday, November 8, 2010
Saturday, November 6, 2010
It's the talk of the town. Mayor Dean’s house and car were attacked.
If there’s one thing I learned during my extended journey through college and university, it’s that there’s always more to what’s going on than meets the eye. In this fast-food, want-it-now culture, some people have a tendency to look merely at the status of events in the moment, forgetting that everything has a history leading up to it.
Womens' Studies, at UVic, taught me to consider that violence against women is never an isolated incident, but rather a consequence of systemic sexism that is inherent to the patriarchy. With that in mind, and in an attempt to hopefully help understand what’s happening in our city, I’m thinking of some of the history leading up to the Dean Fortin Incident.
* The year 2001 – Gordon Campbell and 76 other BC “Liberals” took control of the BC Legislature, leaving only two opposition voices – Jenny Kwan and Joy McPhail – to witness the dismantling of our social safety net. Many of the details are captured here.
* Accompanied by structural adjustment programs imposed by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, Canada’s federal government is also in the midst of a swing to the political right which is historically known to increase the gaps between the ultra-wealthy and the ultra-poor, with systematic dismantling of the middle class recently added to its portfolio.
* In January 2004 a determined homeless man, David Arthur Johnston (currently imprisoned at Wilkinson Jail), insisted on the right to sleep outside on public property. Over many months as he attempted to sleep at St. Ann’s, originally established as a place of refuge for the destitute among us and currently owned by the PCC – the Provincial Capital Commission - he was harassed, intimidated, tortured with sleep deprivation by, he claims, a security officer who was hired just for the purpose. David’s journal is here.
* In support of David and his mission, homeless people establish a tent city on a small piece of civic green space known as Cridge Park. The camp’s inhabitants do their best to feed and care for each other, and deal with drug dealers also interested in inhabiting the space, without any assistance from the authorities. The camp is, after some months, declared a public mess (what would your house look like with no toilet, no garbage or recycling pickup?), firehoses are directed towards barbeques and police toss everyone’s possessions in the garbage.
* Some resourceful tenters find two women lawyers, Irene Faulkner and Cathie Boies Parker, who identify a City bylaw (making it illegal for anyone to erect shelter in public parks) a violation of Canada’s Constitution which guarantees the universal right to life, liberty, and security of person. Not only were homeless people being denied assistance from the state, they were being punished for their efforts to create shelter for themselves. Testimonials, affidavits, were collected from the tenters and the lawyers proceeded, pro bono, with what has become a historic success at the BC Supreme Court. After a couple of years of toe-tapping and finger-wagging from lawyers working on behalf of the City and Province, Madam Justice Carol Ross announced her decision that yes, based on all the evidence presented, it is a violation of Canada’s Charter of Rights of Freedoms to prevent homeless people, when there are no shelter spaces available, from erecting shelter to protect themselves from the cold Canadian winters.
* In 2008 almost $150,000 of public funds were handed out to former Victoria Police Chief Paul Battershill, who was put on administrative leave and suspended with pay. Battershill sold his house and left town. Former Mayor Alan Lowe then hired Jamie Graham who had “retired” from the Vancouver Police Department in February 2007 saying "Age and tenure is a factor but I've done this a long time and you just tend to know," he said. "Everyone says you know when it's time, and it's time."
Graham arrived in Victoria surrounded with controversy, including the death of indigenous man Frank Paul who froze to death in an alley after being dumped there by Vancouver Police, non-cooperation with an investigation into 50 allegations of police misconduct including 6 who admitted they beat up suspected drug dealers, and an internal investigation after he left a used target practice sheet with bullet holes through the head of the silhouette on the desk of the city manager. In response to this, reported the Vancouver Sun, “Graham issued a written statement, saying: ‘The original gesture was made with only the most positive of intentions.’”
* In late 2008, in Victoria, a municipal election resulted in a changing of the guards …. sort of. Councillor Dean Fortin became Mayor Dean Fortin, and all but councilor Sonya Chandler voted to appeal Madam Ross’ decision. This was expensive and lacked the kind of innovation and creativity voters had hoped for. Even the corporate advertising funded Times Colonist reported, in an article title “Welcome to your nightmare, Mr. Mayor", on November 16th 2008.
Throughout the campaign we heard complaints that the election had been hijacked by downtown social issues -- homelessness, crime, mental illness, addictions -- better dealt with by federal and provincial governments than city hall. Too bad. Whether Victorians think the solution is free hugs and homes or a napalm strike on the Tent City, this is their dominant issue -- and if you're a politician, and the downtown circus is the biggest concern for your voters, you had better haul out the elephant-sized pooper scooper, overwhelmed by the job as you may be. An estimated 1,500 homeless people live -- if you can call it that -- in Greater Victoria. That includes 324 individuals whom the police dealt with 23,000 times over a 40-month period, spinning them through the revolving door that leads from the courts to the shelters to the streets to the hospitals. Council should be screaming about that, demanding senior government get engaged in a meaningful way.
There's lots more interesting reading about this election here.
* Some City Councillors visited Portland’s Dignity Village. Even Mayor Dean had email correspondence with the very successful and self-sustaining Dignity Village collective. But his focus quickly shifted away from getting elected, to reaping its benefits. Even while discussion of increasing poverty, the need for a fixed site needle exchange, and constructive solutions to help the homeless face the 2008 winter were fresh in voter’s minds, Mayor Dean voted to increase his own base salary from $74,458 to $97,760.
* 2010 Olympic costs are in the millions of dollars, approximately $3.5 million for the torch relay alone. Provincial authorities cut off public access to gambling money, even while increasing opportunities for gamblers with online opportunities. Theatres, artists, and musicians all feel the squeeze.
* A year after the Olympic Torch paraded through Victoria (which also cost our city a fair chunk), a year after the elaborate and expensive Games commenced, Victorians learn that three shelters will be closing in Victoria on October 31st. Authorities attempt to ease citizen concerns with the announcement of a bright shiny new homeless shelter in Rock Bay, which will house all the people from one of the three shelters. What about the approximately 70 people losing their shelter mats, and the loss of available hot food as a result? Is it really a good idea to throw homeless people to the lions on Hallowe’en night? What about Christian charity – does it only apply when funding’s available? Provincial authorities pay approximately $35 per person for mat per night to those providing shelter space, will that $73,000 per month that the province is now saving also be used to pay off the Olympic debt?
* City Council passes, with one dissenting vote (from Philippe Lucas) a new bylaw making it illegal for homeless people to tent on boulevards. Now unable to sleep overnight on a greenspace in a neighbourhood which is well lit and has a large drop in centre with food and showers and warmth in the daytimes, homeless people are forced into adjacent neighbourhoods. One homeless bashing, by a city bylaw officer, is reported.
* A city is divided. Cool Aid and the copywrited Coalition to End Homelessness (the “Task Force” established by out-going Mayor Alan Lowe, not to be confused with the pre-existing grassroots and non-copywrited Committee to End Homelessness) with four paid staff people issue press releases commending and celebrating the shiny new shelter space while downplaying the loss of mats and ignoring the increasing systemic poverty and homelessness created by the collapse of a failing capitalist economic system. Sure, there are new efforts at creating affordable housing – the recently purchased Traveller’s Inns which aren’t yet completely renovated and which only have subsidies guaranteed by the provincial government for three months after which time, who knows, market rents? And the new building on Humboldt St., not yet completed and as yet uncertain as to who will live there and what it will cost, never mind the fact that it is being built where formerly a CNIB built residence for the blind had been renovated not long prior to its demise. Yes, there’s an extreme weather protocol, but it’s just about more mats on floors and it doesn’t take effect until extreme weather. It’s been raining for 24 hours. That’s extreme enough, don’t you think, to let people set up a tent and stay dry rather than having to pack up soggy gear and carry it around all day until night falls again?
* David Johnston and David Shebib challenge the city bylaw that limits tent living to night-time, insisting that homeless people have a right to sleep in the daytime with their own shelter if they need or choose to. The court hears their argument, and in late October David Johnston becomes impatient awaiting the verdict, sets up a tent in the daytime at city hall, is promptly arrested and taken to Wilkinson Jail where he refuses to eat.
* Prices continue to go up, rent continues to increase, minimum wage remains at $8 per hour. Banks falter, are bailed out, and report massive profits. The oil industry is subsidized, while the recycling bio-diesel co-op is dinged with a new tax. Business as usual persists, the gap between rich and poor increases, just as predicted by those who watch the IMF and the World Bank and the ways their policies play out.
* Throughout all this, advocates continue to offer creative solutions. The Committee to End Homelessness, and the more recently formed Victoria Anti-Poverty Coalition hold regular meetings, inviting homeless people to attend, proclaiming “Nothing About Us Without Us.” Tony Hoar provides binners with bike trailers, some that transform into tent platforms for sleeping. I continue to produce and subsidize the monthly Victoria Street Newz, which keeps a small number of low income people housed and fed and, presumably, able to help their friends through these hard times. I broadcast discussions with interesting people like architect Art Dyson and homeless man Al Williams who are building Eco-villages for homeless people in California on CFUV radio. B Channel News emerges in an effort to provide non-corporate coverage of city news. Print alternatives include Focus Magazine, Monday Magazine, and The Bridge.
Food Not Bombs volunteers with a budget of 0 dollars continue to serve hot vegetarian meals made of rescued food (otherwise considered “waste” in our excessive culture) and serves it up with a side of social transformation on Sunday afternoons, rain or shine, all winter long. And there are, no doubt, a myriad host of other individuals doing their part – feeding the food banks, allowing tents in their back yards, offering what they can to brighten the day of someone less fortunate.
And even now, a decade into the 21st century, all this creativity seems lost on the banks and realtors who insist that buying and selling the earth, this stolen native land, is “how it is done,” and on the governments and capitalists who support them. We just can’t have people scavenging recycled and reclaimed materials and establishing their own homesteads, they quietly mutter, casting jealous eyes at our brilliant attempts to liberate ourselves, finally and completely, from the chains of economic colonialism.
* Dean Fortin’s home is vandalized. As they’d say in any number of the University and College classes I attended …. Discuss.
Friday, November 5, 2010
speaking as janine bandcroft, NOT as representing a collective street newz voice:
it's true that mayor dean has really disappointed a lot of people who hoped he'd actually address concerns from the most vulnerable among us, as he promised while he was campaigning. i understand city council is making some effort to create some affordable housing, but there are approximately 1200 homeless people in victoria, it's winter, and there's a lot of anger out there about the new bylaw that criminalizes homeless people who camp overnight on the pandora green, near the services they need to survive, and also the closing of about 72 shelter beds, plus food services, just in time for another canadian winter. it's not fun watching your friends die on the streets while there are so many empty buildings, so many creative solutions being rejected by this city council. so while i understand the anger, i don't personally feel that vandalism is a tactic that's going to result in anything other than more policing, and unfortunately it might even result in some police being more violent and less sympathetic towards homeless people.
Sometime during the night unknown parties spray painted “72," and "PG” on Victoria Mayor DeanFortin’s Victor St home and “ACAB”, along with a broken window, on the car in the driveway. Early this morning a “communiqué” signed PG72, was e-mailed, apparently, to police and various media. It read:
Mayor Fortin's Home Attacked
OCCUPIED COAST SALISH TERRITORIES
The City has declared war on the poor, and we're fighting back!
On the morning of Friday November 5th, militants painted three
messages for Victoria mayor Dean Fortin on his 2526 Victor St.
house and car: "PG" (in reference to the street community
legislated off Pandora Green), "72" (for the 72 shelter beds cut in
Victoria this week), and "ACAB" (All Cops Are Bastards - including
bylaw officers who beat street people). Fatcat Fortin was also left
with a shattered window and shattered middle class peace.
If Fuckhead Fortin whines about the "violence" inflicted upon his
property, we'll counter that he should instead reflect upon thefact that his own policies inflict violence and hardship on
Victoria's street community every day. Cops regularly brutalize
homeless campers, trash their tent homes and confiscate their
sleeping bags. Now there are 72 new homeless in Victoria created
by government policy, but they're not allowed to sleep in the
safety of their community and street lights on Pandora Green. Where
the fuck are people going to go? The "progressive" Fortin's
outrageously cruel and callous policies are HURTING people and
destroying lives. These fascists really want to "take care" of the
"homeless problem" by killing off the street population, and what
better time to do it than in winter? No shelter beds + nowhere tocamp + no site for safe drug consumption + welfare cuts = hardship,
disease and death.
It's time to take the fight directly to the pig politicians and
give them a taste of their own medicine. You wanna keep kicking the
shit out of us, so we're gonna fight back and fuck you up.
In Love And Rage,
Mayor Fortin left his home around 8:45 AM without comment, getting into a waiting polic
Thursday, November 4, 2010
November 3, 2010
The Hospital Employees’ Union says that under Gordon Campbell’s premiership, B.C. has undergone massive privatization of health care services, unprecedented attacks on the rights of health care workers, and growing instability and chaos on health care’s front lines.
But the union says that it is important to remember that the premier did not act alone, and that the entire B.C. Liberal cabinet and caucus must be accountable for the damage done to health care and to the workers’ rights.
HEU secretary-business manager Judy Darcy says that the policies of the Campbell Liberal government have pushed hundreds of millions of health care dollars into the pockets of private corporations through the privatization of everything from seniors’ care facilities to hospital cleaning to patient food services.
“This has undermined the quality of care for patients and seniors and has destroyed thousands of decent, family supporting jobs in communities across B.C.,” says Darcy.
She says that for HEU members, Gordon Campbell will be remembered first and foremost as the politician who ripped up their collective agreements despite promising not to – and for rolling back their wages unilaterally.
In January 2002, the Campbell government passed Bill 29 – a law that tore up legally negotiated collective agreements and cleared the way for massive layoffs and contracting out in the sector.
In 2007, the Supreme Court of Canada later struck down key provisions of Bill 29 as an unconstitutional attack on the rights of union members to engage in collective bargaining. The Campbell government later agreed to pay out more than $80 million to impacted union members.
In 2004, the Campbell Liberals unilaterally rolled back the wages of health care workers by an unprecedented 15 per cent.
HEU represents 43,000 workers in every area of health care and community social services throughout the province.
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
"The Government of Canada today announced decisions on two gold-copper mine project proposals in British Columbia. The proposal for the Mount Milligan mine, near Prince George, has been granted federal authorizations to proceed. However, the Prosperity mine project as proposed, near Williams Lake, cannot be granted federal authorizations to proceed due to concerns about the significant adverse environmental effects of the project."