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.
Police violence in the United States and Canada has dominated the news over the past year. This violence typically focuses on abuse and excessive force by officers against the public. Recent revelations of police violence against indigenous women in Val d’Or, Quebec, only illustrate the immediacy and severity of this issue. CKUT’s Anna Marchese spoke to Alex Roslin about another aspect of police violence: domestic abuse. Roslin is co-author of “Police Wife: The Secret Epidemic of Police Domestic Violence,” an investigative report that explores why officers are 15 times more likely than the general public to be domestic abusers, and why they consistently get away with it.
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.
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.
Mois contre les prisons hosted a rally at the Palais de Justice on Tuesday, December 1st. Banners were unfurled on the front steps of the courthouse with messages in support of prisoners and decried the current state of the Canadian prison system, which has been steadily deteriorating in the wake of austerity-driven budget cuts.
An array of passionate speeches delivered by the members emphasized the conditions faced by prisoners and detainees alike. Excerpts from the event can be heard in the above audio.
Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE) mediated a meeting between some members of independent media and the Montreal Police on September 21st, to bridge existing disputes between the two groups. At Montreal demonstrations and rallies, the police have often been acting aggressively towards the protesters, kettling and using force on them. The journalists have been victims of attacks as well if they happened to be indistinguishable from the protesters and looked unconvincing to police.
Although members of the police portray violent accidents as simple misunderstandings, their forceful acts restrict journalists’ rights for free expression and oftentimes result in physical damage. CJFE brought the two groups together for a possibility of establishing ground rules of conduct lest further instances of brutality occur. CKUT’s Kateryna Gordiychuk talked with Tom Henheffer to find out more.