Defend CUPE’s Stand for
Since May 27, when over 900 delegates at the annual convention of the
CUPE Ontario is the largest public sector union in
Two days after Resolution 50 was adopted, another boycott resolution was
passed by the largest union of university teachers in
These two resolutions represent the latest in a snowballing movement to
isolate Israeli apartheid just as South African apartheid was earlier. A long list of institutions, city councils, religious
organizations, political parties and unions have endorsed the call for
boycott, divestment and sanctions. In February 2006, the Church of England’s
general synod — including the Archbishop of Canterbury — voted to
divest church funds from companies profiting from the Israeli occupation. In
2005 the World Council of Churches and the Presbyterian Church of the
This growing movement has provoked a widespread crisis in the Zionist
movement, and has filled the Israeli press with stories, editorials and debate
about the boycott, divestment, and sanctions campaign. Its opponents fear that
the identification of
Hargrove denounces “violence on both sides,” condemns the
election of Hamas, and says calling
When solidarity knows no borders, injustice will find no refuge. A massive
expansion of the public debate sparked by CUPE can force the Canadian
government to resume aid to the Palestinian people, with no strings attached,
and begin to end
Is Military Spending “Aid”?
Global military spending once again exceeds $1 trillion (
Toronto Star editors, who backed decisions by successive Liberal and
Conservative federal governments to boost
“And it is money the
“And that means hardship for the 1 billion people who live on $1 a day.”
Leaving aside whether traditional aid, typically tied to self-serving trade
and marketing practices, would much alleviate poverty, the Star ought to
reflect on the fiscal impact of its support for
But the story gets worse, according to the annual report of the Canadian Council for International Co-operation (CCIC) and a global network of development groups. “The Reality of Aid, 2006” states that some countries, including Canada, are lobbying to have military and security spending in foreign interventions counted as aid, an accounting trick designed to mask militarism.
The $80 billion the world spends on aid has grown from $50 billion five
years ago. But of that $30 billon in new funding, $10 billion went to
Here’s another way to look at it. Since 2000, military spending per person in the G-7 rose by $168. So-called “aid” has risen by $11.
Ignatieff’s 800-Pound Gorilla Army
The federal Liberal leadership contest is turning into a two-horse race. Among the eleven contenders, Michael Ignatieff and Bob Rae are pulling ahead of the pack in the marathon run to an early December convention where 5,000 Liberal delegates will pick a new chief.
Ignatieff, the Harvard academic who advocates “humanitarian
empire,” “temporary imperial rule, to provide the force and will
necessary to bring order out of chaos,” and “humane” forms of
torture to extract life-saving information, is the odds on favourite
to win. Why? Because he has the backing of the
When Michael Ignatieff launched his candidacy in
April, he had three Members of Parliament with him. At this writing, he has 27,
far outstripping his opponents. On June 16 his bid was boosted by the
endorsement of Senator Romeo Dallaire, the veteran
commander of the failed 1994 United Nations mission in Rwanda and proponent of
beefed up interventions to “save” peoples from the ravages of “failed
states.” Dallaire’s backing is designed
to make more palatable MP Ignatieff’s recent
vote to extend the unpopular Canadian war and occupation in
But Ignatieff’s biggest political asset may be the 800-pound gorilla of the Liberal leadership race. That is the semi-affectionate term used to describe Senator David Smith, a renown Liberal bag man and organizer who has been a backroom king-maker for decades. Smith’s involvement reflects ruling class policy, not mere preference, and was set in motion when Ignatieff was recruited from afar.
Bob Rae, former Ontario New Democratic Party Premier, has his own movers, shakers and bag men, most notably his brother John Rae, the Power Corporation executive who was the power behind the throne of Jean Chrétien. Rae, whose 1992 anti-labour Social Contract nearly ruined the NDP while demonstrating his loyalty to the business class, also enjoys the backing of several Ontario Liberal cabinet ministers. His candidacy serves the primary purpose of trying to draw NDP voters and members into the Liberal fold. This occurs in a race in which a major advantage of the majority of the candidates is their absence from the corrupt and social cutbacks-driven Liberal regimes of Chrétien and successor Paul Martin.
MP Joe Volpe, whose leadership campaign ran aground when he was found to
have accepted thousands of dollars in “contributions” from the
young children of rich Liberals, now appears as the bad boy of the race by
taking aim at Ignatieff’s foreign policy,
including the latter’s support for the
Still, one must wonder how many contradictions can dance on the head of a pin? Ignatieff, 59, says the next federal Liberal leader, in order to become Prime Minister, must be “left of centre,” a term that defies definition in current bourgeois politics. While his domestic policies are shrouded in mystery (except for his regressive “carbon tax” proposal), Ignatieff’s pro-Washington, deep-integration views seem to rival those of Conservative P.M. Stephen Harper.
Yet Rae, along with contender Gerard Kennedy, one-time food bank operator
and until recently
Operation Transparency — Postal Workers Demand Corporate Plan
Seventeen members of the Canadian
Union of Postal Workers (CUPW), were arrested on June
19 after trying to cross police lines at Canada Post Corporation’s
The union members said they wanted to find a document that allegedly outlines their employer’s plans for post offices and mail processing plants across the country.
As television cameras rolled, members of the union walked toward the police lines and were quickly placed under arrest. CUPW’s president, Deborah Bourque and its former president, Jean Claude Parrot, were among those charged with trespassing.
Bourque said her union had been requesting the document for months and was left with no option but to resort to public protests to make its point. Moya Greene, the president and chief executive officer of Canada Post, earlier said that the document does not exist.
One of the arrested militants, Toronto CUPW member Elizabeth Byce, told Socialist Action, "I thought it would be worth a little pain in order for us to gain the knowledge we need to maintain a public postal service and keep good jobs in our communities. The struggle continues."
Canada Post, which made a profit of $199 million in 2005, has already
announced it is closing the mail processing plant in
On June 13, the Progressive Conservatives held on to the provincial
The Tories won 23 seats, compared to 20 for the NDP (the highest number ever for the party, which held 15 seats before the election) and nine for the Liberals. The Tories won 40 per cent of the popular vote, the NDP 35, Liberals 24, and Greens 2.3.
Political pundits said the cost of Tory promises added up to between $1 billion and $2 billion over four years, while the Liberals made $1.5 billion worth of promises and the NDP’s list was worth about $500 million.
The leaders participated in one debate on television. According to many observers, it was largely a draw. Several days later, a poll seemed to shake up the campaign. It suggested Liberal support was collapsing and the election was a two-way race between the Tories and the NDP.
NDP Leader Darrell Dexter credited the party’s strong showing with its willingness to work with the last Progressive Conservative minority government. In congratulating Premier Rodney MacDonald, Dexter offered “to keep working constructively on the issues that matter most.”
Dexter noted that the NDP and Progressive Conservatives shared the same
approach on many issues — such as eliminating the provincial portion of
the tax on home heating oil, and providing more long-term care for seniors.
This monotonous similarity may help to account for the low voter turnout of just 61.65 per cent of registered voters. It beats the previous record low turnout of 65.78 per cent, which was set in the last election of August 2003.
While nuclear power is emission-free, its by-products remain radioactive for
thousands of years and pose a permanent transport and storage danger. Nuclear
plant construction is legendary for cost overruns (the last one built in
Ontario NDP Leader Howard Hampton argues that energy efficiency, conservation, and an aggressive approach to renewables is the best way forward.
“Simple measures like paying people to cut power use, raising
standards for electrical appliances and moving forward with a green building
plan could help
A 1982 report from Ontario Hydro, (Hydraulic Power Resources of the Province
of Ontario), states that the hydroelectric potential of the province was 21,000
megawatts and that 7,174 MW of that potential — 34 per cent — was
being used. Today, 7,309 MW is produced in
According to Ontario Hydro, harnessing the power of northern rivers like the
Severn, the Winisk, the Ekwan,
the Attawapiskat, the
Dead “Frugal” Billionaire Gets Media Royal Treatment
The corporate media’s fervent fawning over billionaire Ken Thomson,
who died on June 12, at age 82, was barely bearable. The “bashful
billionaire,” the richest man in
The truth, as they say, is often a casualty of capitalist obituaries.
Fortunately, the unctuous rhapsody was at least briefly interrupted by some concessions to the underlying truth.
In the Toronto Star’s June 13 edition, David Olive wrote, “Thomson was always given rather too much credit for turning the $500 million (U.S.) business he inherited on his father’s death in 1976 to an enterprise worth an estimated $29 billion today, and for transforming his father’s print legacy into the current Thomson Corp. stock-in-trade of providing specialized Web-based products and services in the legal, medical, financial services and educational fields.
“That was actually the work of the remarkably long string of skilled retainers recruited by Thomson and his long-time consigliore, John A. Tory, who was the family firm’s de facto CEO for more than a decade after Roy Thomson’s death.”
Olive notes that, “In Canada in the 1970s and 1980s, Thomson on the
advice of Tory and others diversified haphazardly in a bid to redeploy the
profits from the immensely lucrative
The lesson is: if you are super rich, you can afford to make big mistakes,
over-spend on art, and pay $4 million to
Whether intending to have a disarming, or merely nauseating effect, Olive observes that “He had an eye for a bargain, and most people’s memory of him will be the sight of Ken Thomson making his entrance at black-tie affairs in his Subaru hatchback, and of a billionaire rummaging for bargains through the marked-down sock bins at Simpsons, when he owned the store.”
A diluted quantum of piss was sprinkled on the posthumous parade by the Star’s media columnist Antonia Zerbisias. She wrote, “Notoriously frugal, and yet wildly extravagant with his art collection, Thomson was both loathed and loved by his employees. That’s because, although the Thomsons paid poverty-level wages and, legend has it, made journalists turn in their stubs before issuing new pencils, they gave many in the business their start.”
Jolly good, eh? And now David Thomson, 48, who shares his father’s fascination with art and passive approach to business, gets to run a $29 billion empire.
Stronach Leads CEO Pay Parade
Frank Stronach, 73, father of former Liberal
cabinet minister Belinda Stronach, and chairman of
Magna International Inc., based just north of
Magna, which is on the verge of overtaking Delphi Corp. as
Scotiabank Profits Fuel Foreign Expansion
The usually shy smile of Canadian imperialism is again baring its sharp pearly
whites. The Bank of Nova Scotia,
On the strength of a 44 per cent rise in international income, Scotiabank is on the hunt for more foreign acquisitions. In
May it announced plans to swallow Citigroup Inc.’s consumer banking
business in the
Speaking from a directors’ meeting in Costa Rica in early June, CEO
Rick Waugh said Scotia is aggressively looking at opportunities for takeovers
in all of its major markets. He professed to have no concerns over the
political situation in South and