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Report from the Philippines: Jojit de Guzman of the Workers Assistance Centre

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Filipino labour organizers are frequently the targets of kidnappings and assassinations. David Koch was part of a delegation of Canadian public service employees who visited the Philippines last July, as part of the International Fact-Finding Mission, to learn about these struggles. The CKUT Community News collective now brings you the first in a series of reports by David from the International Fact-Finding Mission. You’ll hear from was Jojit de Guzman of the Workers Assistance Centre in Rosario, Cavite province, the Philippines. For more information on the Workers Assistance Centre, visit WACphilippines.com. Or search for Workers Assistance Centre on Facebook.

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Immigrant Workers Centre launches “La voix des migrants”

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[audio https://ia902509.us.archive.org/10/items/VoixDesMigrantesLaunch/voix%20des%20migrant%28e%29s%20launch.mp3]

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In local news, last week, the Immigrant Workers Centre launched their first newspaper, “La voix des migrants”. The news collective’s Jaime MacLean was at the launch in Cote-des-Neiges to bring us a report.

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Morgentaler Clinic’s impending closure

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CKUT’s Queen Arsem-O’Malley discusses the impact of and reactions to the impending closure of the Morgentaler Clinic in Fredericton, New Brunswick with clinic manager Simone Liebovitch, former clinic escort Carolyn Shapiro, and activist Kathleen Curtis.

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Samaa Elibyari talks about Mr Baird’s visit to Egypt and upcoming elections

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[audio https://ia601302.us.archive.org/27/items/0429LiveInterviewAboutEgyptWithSamaaElibyari/0429%20Live%20interview%20about%20Egypt%20with%20Samaa%20Elibyari.mp3]

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Recently, the foreign affairs minister John Baird visited Egypt, and before this visit, organizations such as the Egyptian Canadian Coalition for Democracy, the National Council of Canadian Muslims, Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East, as well as Amnesty International expressed concerns in open statements and letters adressed to Mr Baird. Talks with the so-called Egyptian “Interim government”
that resulted from last year’s military coup could be constructed as an endorsment of the human rights violations that have occured over the past few months in Egypt. CKUT’s Amelie Phillipson spoke with Samaa Elibyari, a member of the Egyptian Canadian Coalition for Democracy, and also the former host of CKUT’s Arab and Muslim affairs show Caravan. 

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Panel discussion: “Climate change, the tar sands, and pipelines”

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On Friday, April 25th, Off the Hour was joined in studio and by phone by a panel of guests who talked about climate change, the tar sands, and pipelines. Tuesday, April 22nd marked Earth Day, and in May, dozens of citizens and community groups will be embarking on a 700 kilometer walk across Quebec to denounce oil and gas pipelines. The action is called the People’s March for Mother Earth, and will begin May 10th in Cacouna, in the lower St-Laurent region, make its way through dozens of communities including Montreal, before ending in Kanehsatake’s Mohawk community around June 14th. Along the way they will be sharing and educating communities about the impacts of major proposed pipelines such as Enbridge’s Line 9B, and Transcanada’s Energy East.

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This panel featured:

Jesse Kerr – Jesse is one of the organizers for Peoples for Mother Earth, and one of the individuals walking the whole 34 days.  Jesse is originally from British Columbia where they were involved in numerous protests and demonstrations for the environment and specifically against Enbridge and the northern gateway pipeline.

Audrey Yank – Audrey is a climate justice organizers with the groups Climate justice Montreal and la Coalition Vigilance Oléoducs.

Patrick Bonin – Patrick is with Greenpeace Quebec, who have been engaging in actions and campaigns against the Alberta Tar sands for several years.

Vanessa Gray, a youth activist from the Aamjiwnaang First Nations reserve near Sarnia, in what is known as Ontario’s “chemical valley”. She is a tireless activist for First Nation’s land defense, and against Enbridge’s Line 9 reversal proposal.

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The dark side of Brazil

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[audio https://ia902506.us.archive.org/26/items/0422NSNDarkSideOfBrazilInterviewWithNixiwakaYawanawa/0422%20NSN%20Dark%20side%20of%20Brazil%20-%20Interview%20with%20Nixiwaka%20Yawanawa.wav]

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Amazon indian Nixiwaka Yawanawa from Brazil greeted the World Cup trophy on its arrival in London with a T-shirt saying “Brazil: stop destroying indians”. Doing this, Nixiwaka drew attention to Brazil’s indigenous population, highlighting that five hundred years after colonization, Brazilian Indians are still being killed for lands and resources. CKUT’s Amelie Phillipson spoke with Nixiwaka to find out more about how Indians are being treated in Brazil and how the World Cup can draw attention to them.

 

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Bamboo Bicycles Beijing

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CKUT brings you a story on sustainability from Beijing, China. In the midst of reports of hazardous levels of pollution and unbearable traffic in northeastern Chinese city centers, a community initiative called Bamboo Bicycles Beijing is trying to start a local conversation on sustainable urban mobility. It also seeks to empower community members by offering hands-on workshops on how to build their own means of transportation – bamboo bicycles. Speaking to Tiffany Lam is Antonia Burchard-Levine, a McGill East Asian Studies and International Development Studies graduate from December 2012, one of the team members hoping to spearhead this initiative.

 

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Problematizing Earth Day

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On Earth Day, Off the Hour was joined live by phone by Amanda Lickers indigenous media activist who talked about the implications of celebrating ‘Earth Day’ on April 22nd, and the corporatization of a day that purports to recognize the importance of climate justice.

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ICTV’s intervention against Videotron

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On April 22nd, the comment period will close at the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) on a non-compliance complaint against Videotron, a Québecor subsidiary. At stake is the status of Vidéotron’s community license for MaTV and 23 million dollars of public funds earmarked for community television in the greater Montreal area. Filed at the CRTC last Fall, ICTV’s intervention raised questions and evidence of Vidéotron’s violations of regulations governing community TV. Since then information disclosed by Vidéotron to the CRTC confirms concerns raised by ICTV. Laith Marouf, a member of the ICTV Steering Committee, joined Off the Hour on Friday, April 18th.

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Bill C-23, the so-called “Fair Elections Act”

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Bill C-23, the ironically named “Fair Elections Act” is a bill that will dangerously change how, and if, some Canadians can participate in our democracy. This bill suppresses voters through tactics like making voter identification harder and prohibiting Elections Canada from encouraging Canadians to vote. Diane Woloschuk (wallace-chuck) is the President of the Canadian Teacher’s Federation, representing more than 200,000 public school teachers across Canada. She spoke with Off the Hour’s Andre Goulet to discuss the threat Bill C-23 poses to democratic participation in this country, and what we can do to stop it.

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April 17th anti-austerity demonstration in Montreal

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On April 17th, CASA, the Comité d’action solidaire contre l’austerité, took to the streets in the first post-election anti-austerity demonstration in Montréal. CKUT’s Anna Marchese was at the event to provide interviews and audio from CASA’s fight for social and economic justice. 

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Deepan Budlakoti still facing deportation

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Deepan Budlakoti was born in Canada, but Canadian Immigration has launched deportation procedings against him. CKUT’s Carla Greene speaks with Deepan to hear about his Kafka-esque situation and what he’s doing to fight against it.

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Alain Deneault on tax heavens

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During the month of April when you are hunched over your tax returns, your stomach in knots, trying to figure out how much you owe your government, consider this: 26 of the most powerful profitable Fortune 500 companies paid zero dollars in income tax between 2008 & 2012. No one is going to jail. This fraud is perfectly legal. Listen to part of a presentation by author Alain Denault on fiscal justice and tax havens.

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Montreals protest against pipelines and Tar Sands expansions

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On Friday, April 11th, indigenous and environmental groups were outside the Marriott hotel in Montreal to protest the presence of Canada’s new Minister of Environmental Resources, Greg Rickford. Rickford was in Montreal to promote the Enbridge Line 9 reversal project to bring Tar Sands oil to Montreal. 

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Cuts to non-profit organizations

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Recent government cuts have forced the non-profit health organization, Head and Hands, to explore other donors, mainly in the private sector. Victoria Xie sat down with Juniper Belshaw, who is the fundraising director to discuss the difficulties that the government cuts present and the importance of their program to the community.

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Violence against Indian women

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In India, federal elections got underway, and continue until May 16th. It is being called the world’s biggest elections. On March 18th, Jean Chapman gave a lecture on “Violence against women in contemporary India” at Simone de Beauvoir Institute. CKUT’s June Jang sat down with Chapman to discuss the origin of violence against Indian women in public and private sphere.

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Temporary foreign workers and the Labour Code amendment

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[audio https://ia601204.us.archive.org/11/items/TempForeignWorkersMixdown/temp%20foreign%20workers_mixdown.mp3]

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On March 11, 2014, the Labour Code was amended to assure the freedom of association for all agricultural workers, including those who worked on small farms, thereby recognizing their right to unionize. However, Canada’s current temporary foreign worker program, as well as Quebec’s Farm recruitment agency, FERME, may still be holding about 340,000 immigrant workers to different standards from their Quebecois counterparts. Tiffany Lam interviewed Jill Henley from the Immigrant Workers Center and Marie-Jeanne Vandoorne from United Food and Commercial Workers Canada for more information.

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AGSEM’s drive to unionize teaching support staff

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CKUT’s Tyler Lawson sits down with Justin Irwin, president of the AGSEM – the union representing teaching assistants and invigilators – and Ali, a grader at McGill, about AGSEM’s drive to unionize teaching support staff and the challenges of organizing labour in an austerity economy.

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Accessibilize Montreal’s cross-Canada trip

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CKUT was joined on Wednesday, April 9th by members of Accessibilize Montreal. Accessibilize Montreal aims to challenge mainstream perceptions of disability through direct action. The Avalanche’s Aimee Louw filled us in on her cross-Canada trip to work on her documentary about disabilty justice, along with her collaborator Julien Gascon-Samson.

Aimee’s blog: http://underwatercityproject.tumblr.com/

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“We can tell and we will”

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In recognition of National Victims of Crime Awareness Week April 6-12, the DisAbled Women’s Network of Canada (DAWN Canada) is launching a campaign aimed at informing women with disabilities and Deaf women about their right to report abuse and to have their abusers tried in court. Entitled “We Can Tell and We Will,” the campaign includes a Public Service Announcement which depicts two women with intellectual disabilities and one with a communication difference describing abuse and stating that abuse is unacceptable.  The Avalanche spoke with Bonnie Brayton of DAWN Canada to fill us in on this campaign.