On Wednesday, February 15th was organized the Rap Battle Against Police Brutality at Le Belmont in Montreal. CKUT was at the event and met Montreal emcees, poets, Concordia students and community members to tackle the issue of police brutality. This charity event may raise awareness on this relevent topic and advocate justice to people who have suffered from police brutality. The Rap Battle allowed people to share their stories, encourage people to act and work on new solutions as a group. Instead of competing, the Rap Battle gave voices to everyone upon a same issue rarely mentioned.
“It is a systematic problem that needs to be address and change raising our voices and unit in a peaceful way” – Max
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.
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.
Ukraine is the largest country located within Europe, known as a breadbasket of the continent, its beautiful nature, distinct folk dancing, and the hospitality of those inhabiting it.
Women comprise fifty-four percent of the country’s population, and the level of women’s literacy in Ukraine reaches nearly a hundred percent. The prohibition of discrimination based on gender is entrenched into the Ukrainian Constitution, Article 24. The country’s everyday life, however, does not reflect these factors.
The survey of 2014 showed that 22% of Ukrainian women had experienced at least one form of violence (physical or sexual) starting age 15. Only 32% of the total number asked for help at social services.
This report opens up a conversation about the systemic issue of gender violence that Ukrainian women face on a daily basis through the interviews with “La Strada” Ukraine and the community LGBTQ organization“Insight.” “La Strada” is an international NGO that works to ensure gender equality and fights women trafficking in Ukraine, and the “Insight” organization provides legal and social help to the victims of violence on the grounds of homophobia, transphobia, and xenophobia. My name is Kateryna Gordiychuk of the CKUT Community Radio in Montreal, Canada.
It is very important to talk openly about violence against women in Ukraine, as the conversation is often suppressed by virtue of seeming not urgent enough, especially in light of political difficulties and oppression by Russia that the country faces.
This documentary was produced as a part of16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, an international radio series of AMARC, originally in Ukrainian. The report was aired in English on CKUT 90.3 FM on March 3, 2016, as a part of the Off the Hour program.
On March 21, the CSU Legal Information Clinic hosted a discussion and workshop concerning legal nuances in cases of racial profiling in policing.
Businessman Joel Debellefeuille gives a testimony of his Driving While Black experiences, and of subsequent interactions with courts, the Police Ethics Commissioner, and the Human Rights and Youth Rights Commission. CRARR Executive Director Fo Niemi then discusses the obstacles to effective civil rights protection in Quebec.
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.
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.
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.
CKUT correspondent Claudia Edwards spoke with a queer Muslim refugee from Iran about his personal experiences with cyberbullying, and with xenophobia, Islamophobia and homophobia while living in Canada. The difficulties that come with the integration process, along with the services and kinds of support that would help to better serve the refugee community, are also explored.