Lia Tarachansky’s documentary, On the Side of the Road : pointing out a nation’s tabboo

Lia Tarachansky is an Israeli-Russian journalist and moviemaker who produced the documentary  ”On the Side of the Road” in 2013. As a former Israel/Palestine correspondent for the Real News Network (RNN), she produced short documentary-style reports exploring the context behind the news. She has directed several documentaries that tackle different aspects of social justice struggles in Israel and in Palestine.

Once again with this documentary, she points out what the Israeli government always wanted to pass over in silence and focuses on Israeli collective denial of the events of 1948 that led to the country’s Independance but also to the Palestinian refugee issue. Through two testimonies of veterans Tikva Honig-Parnass and Amnon Noiman as well as her own history –  as she grew up in a settlement in the West Bank – Lia Tarachansky wants to broach this burning issue unveiling the opinion and the suffering of people coming from both sides of the road, the two communities.

To know more about the movie and Lia Tarachansky, Here is her website. As part of the Israeli Apartheid Week, she answered to our questions about ”On the Side of the Road” that you can find here and/or on our soundcloud account as well.

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Countdown to Trump Inauguration

With the upcoming inauguration of the president-elect down south, CKUT’s News Collective would like to share some thoughts from Masha, a member of Russia’s Pussy Riot.

Pussy Riot is a feminist protest punk-band-meet-art-collective that uses performance and music to disseminate their defiance. The group’s “guerilla performance” in 2012 at the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow brought them international recognition and a two-year jail sentence for mocking Vladimir Putin and the Russian Orthodox Church’s support for the, then, presidential candidate.

In 2016, Pussy Riot again spoke out against the American president-elect. At the time of the interview, Trump was the Republican candidate for the 2016 Presidential election. In response to his success, two songs – “Straight Outta Pussy” and “Make America Great Again” – were released. Both their lyrics and music videos challenged his demonstrated misogyny, racism, and classism.

When asked about Trump, Masha described him as “a crazy asshole.” The interview further explores why tactics employed by feminists in the US and Canada cannot be compared with feminism’s tactics in the Russia, how the rise of Trump resembles that of Putin, and how the media can distort public opinion about struggles against the status quo.

The CKUT News Collective would like to encourage its listeners to go out and show solidarity with DC’s disruptions of Inauguration Day in Montreal.

McGill Casual Worker Strike Comes to a Close at Snowden Video Conference

AMUSE marches through Leacock 132 condemning attendees (credit: @elenarazlogova)

In light of the Association of McGill University Support Employee’s (AMUSE) five-day strike, CKUT sat down with one of their executives and bargaining members to address their reasons for their work stoppage from October 29th to November 2nd. 82% of the AMUSE members who showed up for the strike vote voted in favour of strike action on October 20th.

AMUSE, McGill’s contract worker union, represents 1500 workers who work all across campus, including Athletics, the McGill Bookstore, and Enrolment Services. The strike was sparked by an impasse in AMUSE’s negotiations with McGill, specifically on the clause regarding McGill’s Work Study program. However, casual worker dissatisfaction ran much deeper, particularly for employees who were not students. More information in the above embedded interview.

The interview was carried out on Monday, the half-way point of their five-day strike. At that point, AMUSE had disrupted various on-campus operations and events, including sporting events and McGill’s Open House. They had also started a hashtag – #istandwithAMUSE – for people to share their experiences on social media. Or pose for a selfie with a sign.

No employees were hired to scab their work, likely because they had declared an end date to the strike. However, Open House did see various full-time permanent employees and higher-up administrators carrying out their work, such as giving campus tours.

The highest profile event that AMUSE disrupted during their strike was Media@McGill’s video conference with Edward Snowden. Before the talk started, AMUSE marched through the lecture hall, shaming the room for crossing their picket lines. A mixture of cheers, jeers and boos ensued. AMUSE picketed all the entrances, handing out flyers which described their conditions, why not to cross their picket line, and that they did not intend to stand against Edward Snowden’s message. Picketers underscored that their picket lines were to draw attention to Media@McGill’s history of ad hoc, precarious contracts.

Nevertheless, a picket line was set up at the entrance for media. A rally also set up camp among the line of hopeful attendees, pushing the message that their rally was the better activity for the evening (The line for Snowden snaked from Leacock, past the Arts Building, down the stairs to McConnell and up all the way to Trottier).

Ironically, Snowden expressed sympathy for their cause saying that “It’s very very very hard to be the least popular person in the room.” And yet at the same time, he also expressed apprehension about journalists being treated as regular citizens (in the context of recent findings that the SPVM and SQ have been tapping journalist communications for information).

Notably, strike pay was only available to workers who chose to work at least a four-hour strike shift. Strike pay was $53 for a four-hour picket shift if you worked under 20 hours a week and $75 for a four-hour picket shift if you worked over 20 hours a week. If members worked more than one AMUSE job, they were told to combine the hours to calculate the total. Several members expressed to CKUT about their discomfort with being compensated only if they picketed. Interestingly enough, Snowden had brought up the right to being a private citizen in his video conference, specifically the right to understanding how governing bodies made their decisions (“Why shouldn’t we get compensated if we don’t picket?”) and the right to keeping controversial views private (“I don’t want to picket in the rain”).

Casual workers have returned to their posts as of Thursday November 3rd and hope to hear updates with negotiations with McGill that will restart November 10th.

Old Trees Matter

Source: Sauvons la falaise facebook page

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On March 29th, the association Sauvons la Falaise organised a peaceful gathering to protest against the decision of the owner of the Meadowbrook Golf course in Cote Saint Luc to cut down old silver maple trees. This event is part of the association’s general fight for the preservation of old trees in Montreal. CKUT reporter Chloe interviewed the founder of the association, Lisa Mintz, and an active member, Louise Chenevert, to get more information about the protest and the general state of tree preservation policies in Montreal.

“Imagine if you went outside in the spring and didn’t hear any birds singing […] you would feel inside that there is something missing” -Lisa Mintz 

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Lisa Mintz (source: Dario Ayala for the Montreal Gazette)

Lisa Mintz created Sauvons la Falaise to protect the falaise St-Jacques, a four-kilometer forester area between the Turcot Interchange and Montreal West. In this interview, she explains the ecological and cultural value of trees for people living in Montreal. She also denounces the state of  the city’s tree policy: few trees are being planted every year, laws are not implemented consistently and trees are being cut down without the consent of local residents.

 

In 2012, the city of Montreal decided to launch the Plan d’action Canopée, an ambitious project to plant 300 000 news trees over 10 years. While this might be a positive step towards the preservation of green spaces in Montreal, this plan overlooks the difference between new and old trees. As Louise Chenevert explains in this interview, older trees have a greater capacity to absorb carbon dioxide, their roots prevent erosion and they contribute to reduce urban temperatures.

“Sure they can replace trees in a few years with a little sapling that’s got have a dozen leaves on it but that cannot possibly replace a tree that’s got a huge canopy and that does an incredible amount of work for the environment” – Louise Chenevert

It is the Schéma d’aménagement et de développement de l’agglomération de Montréal that sets out the conditions under which Montrealers can cut down trees. According to Jonathan Théorêt, the director of the GRAME, these conditions are quite loose. While some municipalities systematically require a permit to cut down trees, it is not the case in all legislatures. CKUT reporter Chloe discussed with him the GRAME’s proposals to solve this problem.

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Idefix cries each time anyone cuts down a tree (source: Astérix et Obelix “The Mansion of Gods” p.12)

 

More, More, I want more! 

  • Contact Lisa (l-mintz@hotmail.com) and Louise (514 464 9094) to get involved with Sauvons la Falaise or for any further questions. They are thrilled to answer any questions about starting your own environmental association. Check out their facebook page 
  • Tree Planting! Sauvons la Falaise will be planting trees on March the 2nd (9am) with NDG WMAC [meeting place: St-Jacques and Cavendish]. BYP- bring your own poetry about trees. 
  • Join the GRAME’s campain “Un Arbre pour Mon Quartier”  and check out the group’s facebook page 
  • Join the Jane’s walk organised by Sauvons la Falaise. All the info is available here

 

 

 

Living on the Streets: Toronto vs MTL

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Source: http://www.globalresearch.ca/

https://archive.org/embed/RealDeRealEnMp3“>Download here

On March the 15th, the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP) officially released its report Out in the Cold on the state of the Toronto shelter system . The study’s findings are based on numerous interviews with service users and workers. It points out to a shelter system in crisis, plagued by constant overcrowding, harsh living conditions and a city government unwilling to take action.

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Source: OCAP report “Out in the Cold”

CKUT reporter Chloe interviewed one of the writers of this report for a summary of the OCAP’s findings. Some of the statistics are hard to believe. For instance, 81% of the people surveyed stated that they had been denied a shelter bed because the shelters were full (see the chart above)! Equally shocking, in most shelters occupancy levels exceeded 90% every night. This is highly problematic given that  overcrowded shelters lead to a high stress environment, a poor night’s rest and health issues. Luckily, OCAP volunteers and engaged citizens are taking action against this situation. Check out this video to get an idea of the scope of the protests happening in Toronto. 

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Francois Boissy

To get a sense of the state of the shelter system in Montreal, we also interviewed Francois Boissy who is the director of operations at La Maison du Pere, one of the largest homeless shelters in the city. He points out some of the differences between the way the cities of Toronto and Montreal deal with their homeless populations.

Aside from the administrative aspect of the shelter systems of Toronto and Montreal, an important question remains: “how does it feel, for people on the ground, to experience the shelter system in both cities?” Michel, an ex-homeless man that lived on the streets for two years from 2009-2011, explained to our reporter his personal experience with Montreal shelters. In this fascinating interview he talks about the reasons why he became an itinerant in the first place, the different shelters he slept in,  food conditions and how shelter services helped him get out of the streets. We are truly grateful for his trust in sharing this story, the full interview is available for stream and download below.

Download here

More More I want More!

  • For the history of the Toronto shelter system click here. 
  • Find a critical (but pretty short!) analysis of the Montreal shelter system here

Solidarity Across Boarders marches for Canada to “Ouvrez les frontières”

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Direct download here

Justin Trudeau’s Montreal office (529 rue Jarry Est) was the venue for a demonstration under the banner of Solidarity Across Boarders.

“Ouvrez les frontières!” chanted attendees as a marching band played and people danced. Hot chocolate was served for all on the chilly Sunday afternoon of December 13th.

Amidst the fanfare, the demonstration was a serious call to the nascent Liberal government and their current stance on immigration and non-status workers living in Canada.

In light of Canada’s current acceptance of Syrian refugees, Solidarity Across Boarders is urging the government to take their immigration policies a step further. This includes the regularization of current non-status people who are working without documentation, further relaxation of immigration laws, and a halt to the arrest and detaining of already vulnerable individuals.

The rally was also held to denounce racism, in particular islamophobia that has contributed further resistance to immigration.

After a public address was made (some of which can be heard above), the rally marched over to rue Saint-Denis and down to Jean-Talon.

Among the speakers were representatives in support of non-status women living in Canada, and Mexicans united for regularisation.

For more information on their campaigns, or to get involved, please visit Solidarity Across Boarders

Interview on Energy East pipeline impacts on Bay of Fundy with Tim Gray

(Photo Credit: Fundy Baykeeper/Conservation Council of New Brunswick)
(Photo Credit: Fundy Baykeeper/Conservation Council of New Brunswick)
[audio https://ia601508.us.archive.org/10/items/EnvironmentalDefenceInterview/Environmental%20Defence%20Interview.mp3]

Click Here to Download This Report

Environmental Defence is Canada’s most effective environmental action organization and recently joined forces with other environmental organizations as well as the First Nations people and citizens of St. John in order to call for a rejection of the Energy East pipeline in the Bay of Fundy, one of Canada’s greatest ecosystems.

This interview was produced by Victoria Xie.