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Monday, 31 December 2012

Toronto is First Nations land - TorontotheBetter greetings and support for Idle No More campaign

Toronto, like the rest of Canada, occupies First Nations land. We support "Idle No More" and call on the federal government to address the concerns  raised by Theresa Spence, in her courageous hunger strike, and all Idle No More activists.
For more details on the campaign, see http://www.mediacoop.ca/idlenomore

Monday, 17 December 2012

Want better public transit? Become a TTCriders member today...

...TTCriders is an emerging, grassroots public transit advocacy group that wants more and better public transit in Toronto...hard to argue with that: click here to become a member.

TorontotheBetter Supports Crafting Selves - young Torontonians art project

For details of this innnovative exploration of identity through art check out TorontootheBetter colleague Fabrizio Bianchini's Crafting Selves Commmunity Arts project at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=9KsGCjVnf5U#t=0s





Monday, 26 November 2012

EXHIBITION: MEMORIES OF RESISTANCE at BEIT ZATOUN

Only two more days to visit the display of social justice materials from the Connexions Archive at Beit Zatoun House:

Connexions is a documentation project founded in 1975, known for its extensive online library of social justice documents at www.connexions.org. Toronto-based Connexions also maintains the Connexions Archive, a working archive powered by a team of volunteers who work on cataloguing its extensive and growing collection of social-justice-related books, periodicals, documents, and other materials from grassroots activist groups.

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Update on Kimberly Rivera & U.S. Iraq War Resisters


It has been a period of intensive work on many fronts since the Harper government told Kimberly Rivera and her family they had to leave Canada. In spite of a national mobilization with events in 8 cities, an op-ed in the Globe and Mail by Archbishop Desmond Tutu in support of Kim, and tens of thousands of people writing letters, faxing, sending emails and phoning Immigration Minister Jason Kenney calling on him to let the Riveras stay in Canada, the Conservative government forced Kim and her family – including two children born in Canada – to leave this country.

But Kim’s case confirmed once again that there is a broad and deep support for the stand that Kim and other U.S. war resisters have taken in refusing to participate in an illegal and immoral war. And we are more determined than ever to build on the support for Kim to give voice to that majority of Canadians who opposed the Iraq War and who want a provision made for US war resisters to stay in Canada. Below is a brief update on Kim’s situation, and an APPEAL to help the War Resisters Support Campaign continue to mobilize in support of the many other U.S. war resisters who still face the threat of deportation.

 • On September 17th, Harper government representatives argued in Federal Court that the possibility of Kim being arrested by U.S. authorities was "merely speculative". The Federal Court took the government lawyer's argument at face value and denied a stay of removal on the basis that it was ‘speculative’ that she would be arrested and subject to court-martial.
          On September 20th, Kim and her family voluntarily left Canada, and Kim was immediately arrested at the border to the U.S.  She is currently awaiting court martial on charges of desertion. As Kim’s lawyer Alyssa Manning had clearly stated, there was abundant evidence that Kim faced arrest and harsh punishment if returned to U.S. authorities. Following her arrest, Kim was taken to Fort Drum, N.Y. and shortly after, to a county jail. After several days she was transported to Fort Carson in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
          She is separated from her husband and four young children who are in Texas and are missing Kim terribly. In a recent interview, Kim's husband Mario Rivera explained how difficult it has been for himself and, especially, for the children to be separated from their mother. "I explained to them that Mommy is away for a while and she will come back as soon as she can. Katie thinks she’s lost and wants to go rescue her. She is anxious and nervous about it. She closes herself off from people as she’s missing her mom real bad... Gabriel too. He misses his mom real bad. He holds a picture of her and kisses it and tries to reach through the picture to grab her."
          Kim and her family are receiving support from the U.S.-based organization Courage to Resist as well as the War Resisters Support Campaign, and there is a dedicated group of supporters in Colorado Springs who visit her regularly at Fort Carson. James Branum, who has worked on many U.S. war resister cases, is Kim’s civilian lawyer. Supporters in the U.S. have been working hard to facilitate Kim’s family visiting her in Colorado Springs.

• There are still many other U.S. war resisters and their families in Canada who are facing the threat of deportation, and we urgently need to continue to build support for them. The Harper government's attack on the Rivera family has produced a groundswell of support for war resisters in Canada. Many people were disgusted and angered by the scene of Conservative MPs applauding the news that Kim and her family had been forced to leave the country on September 20th.
          In their push for increasing militarization of Canada, the Conservative government is criminalizing war resisters and silencing anti-war voices. Millions of Canadians disagree with this. The outpouring of support for Kim has shown once again that people care deeply about this issue, and many are prepared to take action for war resisters. We need to keep up the pressure to achieve what two votes in Parliament and a majority of Canadians have demanded: that Canada should enact a provision to allow U.S. war resisters to stay in Canada.
          Over the next weeks and months, the War Resisters Support Campaign will be initiating a broad outreach campaign to build on the mobilization of the past few weeks. A signature ad by prominent Canadians including Andy Barrie, Alexandre Trudeau, John Polanyi and many others will publicly call on the Canadian government to stop deporting U.S. war resisters. And we will continue to build the campaign to repeal Immigration Minister Jason Kenney’s discriminatory Operational Bulletin 202: http://resisters.ca/resources/
To do all of this, WE NEED YOUR SUPPORT!
Please consider making a contribution to the War Resisters Defense Fund, which will allow us to carry out this work. To donate on-line please click on this link: http://resisters.chipin.com
Or you can send a cheque to: War Resisters Support Campaign 427 Bloor Street West, Box 13 Toronto, ON M5S 1X7 The stakes are high for those US soldiers who have risked their futures by refusing to participate in a war Canadians rejected.
          The Harper government threatens to rip apart their families and facilitate their ‘rendition’ to harsh punishment, as they did to Kim Rivera. The Conservatives are determined to close the door on the tradition of Canadian asylum for US war resisters, and to override the overwhelming opposition to the Iraq War, by driving Iraq War resisters out of Canada. But they have NOT succeeded in changing public opinion on either front. That is because of war resisters’ voices, and the movement of people who support them. We need to make sure those voices continue to be heard in the period ahead.
War Resisters Support Campaign - www. resisters.ca - 416.598.1222 - wrsctoronto@gmail.com
Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s op-ed in The Globe and Mail: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/commentary/dont-deport-war-resister-kimberly-rivera/article4544856/
------- War Resisters Support Campaign Web:  http://www.resisters.ca/
Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/WarResisters
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/WarResisters

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Torontothetter supports the Traditional Algonquin One Nation with PWYC screening of Mamwi ("Together")


MAMWI


Movie TITLE: MAMWI (“Together” in the Algonquin language) - plus raw 2012 footage from Algonquin First Nation land in Quebec, site of the Traditional Algonquin One Nation's struggle with Resolute Forest Products.
DURATION: 60 minutes [approx.]

SPEAKER: Ilyan Balicki, a Toronto-based social justice activist who recently made a solidarity visit to Poigan Bay Algonquin Territory to stand and learn with the Traditional Elders of the Algonquin One Nation with regard to the illegal logging of their territory and cultural degradation.                               LANGUAGE: English/Algonquin
VENUE: OISE (252 Bloor St. W.)-Room 5-250 TIME:7pm PRICE:PWYC
PHONE:416-707-3509 WEBSITE: www.TorontotheBetter.net
THEME: Montreal-based logging company PF Resolute is clear-cutting on unceded Algonquin territory near Poigan Bay in northern Quebec. Environmental integrity, Algonquin cultural heritage and traditional ways of life are being irreversibly compromised for a corporate profiteering agenda. The film showcases the altercations between the Elders of the Traditional Algonquin One Nation and Resolute Forest Products.

NOTE: we will also be showing for the first time raw footage of Alqonquin Elders Joseph and Louise Wawatie being arrested on their own land. People versus profits. - in our series we have recently shown movies about similar struggles in India, Chile and Colombia. As the world economy tightens after the collapse of 2008, the push for explotation becomes more urgent. It’s a global reality and it’s happening in Quebec, Canada. Whose side are we on? Show your solidarity with the traditional Algonquins of the One Nation and join us on Nov. 27th, 2012. NOTE: Movie screening is part of our annual TorontotheBetter movie series, linking popular struggles worldwide. For more information about Toronto's social economy and TorontotheBetter check out our ebsite at www.TorontotheBetter.net or call 416-707-3509.

Monday, 12 November 2012

Suggest an Enterprise for TorontotheBetter

Dear TorontoTheBetter readers, shoppers and citizens...

Since 2002 we have been building Toronto's social economy through our online directory of Toronto social enterprises and through related activities such as our annual movie series.

We encourage collaboration among TorontotheBetter enterprises. Thus, we are inviting you to tell us about any new Toronto social enterprises you are aware of.

To do this, please use our "Suggest a New Business" button here.

Stay tuned for news about our Alliance for Toronto's Social Economy, our new social economy survey and an update about our Red Panamericana Pan-Am Games initiative with the City of Toronto.

We are in tough times and in tough times we know we must do more to help.Together we can build a better Toronto and a better world. For all.

Monday, 29 October 2012

TorontotheBetter supports action against privatization of Toronto's LRT transit system

We draw the attention of all Toronto social seconomy supporters to the following important call to action from Scarborough Transit Action. A better Toronto requires needs a strong public sector if social enterprise is to thrive. Thanks to Scarborough Transit Action for this alert.
_________________________________________________________________________

IT'S NOW OR NEVER

STOP THE PRIVATIZATION OF THE TTC !
Toronto Council is on the verge of signing off on a Master Agreement with Metrolinx that will lock in the privatization of four new Light Rapid Transit line's. They intend to make this irreversible and far reaching change to our public transit system without having access to all the facts about privatization. Only by deferring the item (CC27.6) can Council conduct public consultation and consider the evidence. Here's what they need to review before making a decision:

-up to date research indicating privatization costs are 16% higher than publicly funded infrastructure in Ontari

a copy of the soon to be released Value for Money assessment of private vs. public cost estimates for LRT expansion in Toronto, (Infrastructure Ontario).


-an audit of the Value for Money assessment process as they are known to be biased in favour of P3's. (Provincial Auditor)


-the report conducted by the American Public Transit Association outlining concerns with handing over a huge ($8.4B) project to a multinational consortium.


CALL YOUR COUNCILLOR AT 311 TODAY. Ask them to DEFER agenda item CC27.6 at the Council Meeting of October 30th. Tell them they need to learn the facts about P3's and hear from the public. No more back room deals and secret meetings.







Mayworks Festival Open Call for Submissions 2013 Festival

Mayworks Festival Open Call for Submissions 2013 Festival

Deadline: November 5, 2012

Mayworks Festival - Toronto is pleased to invite submissions for its 28th
festival season. Applications are accepted from groups and individuals in a
range of disciplines, including: visual art, music/ poetry, film, video,
interdisciplinary, and theatre.

Mayworks Festival is a multi-disciplinary arts festival that celebrates
cultural production working class culture. Mayworks Festival seeks to
showcase high calibre art by artists at all stages in their careers that are
politically and socially engaged with labour realities. We are especially
committed to providing a platform to support the underrepresented labor of
indigenous peoples, people with disabilities, migrants, women,
queer-identified people, people of color, and youth.

Our program committee is guided by our equity policy that recognizes the
systemic discrimination and injustices faced by equity-seeking groups.
Mayworks Festival is not a funding body, we work in partnership with unions
and co-presenters to present events that fit our mandate. We are committed
to paying artists’ fees.

Submissions will not be accepted after the deadline date: Nov. 5, 2012.
Proposals selected will be notified by email by December 2012. The festival
dates (TBD) will be in early May 2013.

Questions about the application process, contact Dianah Smith at
program@mayworks.ca . Organizations interested in co-sponsoring an event at Mayworks Festival, contact Nausheen Quayyum at outreach@mayworks.ca .

Sunday, 28 October 2012

TorontotheBetter movie series features problem Canadian gold mine in Marmato, Colombia

A dead priest, a community in turmoil and a Canadian open pit mine in Colombia, our latest "free trade" partner, are the ingredients of our Oct.30, 2012 screening: Marmato, Manger of Gold. Do Canadians care what their ming companies do? They should.  A portion of of proceeds from the screening will be sent to the Marmato community defense collective.


For more information see http://www.uthumanist.com/2011/09/opponent-of-canadian-gold-mine-in.htm

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Welcome to Toronto's newest food co-op

Torontothebetter is pleased to welcome the West End Food Co-op, Toronto's, and TorontottheBetter's, newest food co-op. John Richmond and fellow WEFC workers opened their doors on Saturday October 6th and Torontothebetter was honoured to make the first purchase to go through the WEFC cash register - some blueberries, from the rich selection of Ontario fruit and vegetables now available to the public at 1229 Queen St. West, just west of Dufferin. Better nutrition means a better Toronto and better nutrition requires quality local food in worker friendly workplaces like West End Food Co-op.

Congrats to Good Catch General Store

TorontotheBetter stopped by Good Catch General Store at 1556 Queen St. West to say congratulations to Jola Sobolak (and son, Leon) on five years of innovative retail service to the Queen West community. Accessibility matters for Toronto's social economy. If it's not on our corner, how many will use it? Thanks, Jola for bringing fair trade and other progressive products and services to your neighbours at Queen and Lansdowne.

Monday, 1 October 2012

TorontotheBetter recognises a garden that excels - at Metta Housing Co-op

The picture tells the story. While the rest of Toronto goes about its business and occasionally takes a breather, Metta Housing Co-op at Dundas and Dalhousie offers to all its front garden (which regularly wins the Co-op Housing Federation of Toronto Garden of the Year award.)

TorontotheBetter Visits 2012 Toronto Self-Healing Festival


On Saturday, September 29th, TorontotheBetter workers were pleased to meet Nahid Ameen of new TorontotheBetter participant Conscious Health at the 2012 Self-Healing Festival on Bathurst St. Where safe and feasible, TorontotheBetter  supports active involvement by all in their self-care. As we see every day, good health depends a lot on the food we put in our bodies. Good luck with your personalized food preparation approach, Nahid.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

War Resisters Update

War Resisters Update, Film Night and Fundraising Dinner


Despite enormous efforts by Canadians from coast to coast, U.S. Iraq War resister Kimberly Rivera and her family were forced to leave Canada on September 20.

Canadians are shocked and angered that our government did not allow Kim’s humanitarian and compassionate application to be processed before she was forced to leave. She is currently being detained and awaiting punishment at the hands of the U.S. military.

The callousness of the Harper government – who applauded the news of Kim’s forced return to the U.S. – has made many people more determined than ever to fight to ensure that no other Iraq War resisters suffer the same fate.

Please join the War Resisters Support Campaign for dinner, a campaign update and a screening of the film Soldiers of Peace by Denis Mueller.


MONDAY, October 1, 2012
Steelworkers Hall 25 Cecil Street, Toronto
6:00 pm Dinner;
7:00 pm Campaign Update
and Film Screening
Soldiers of Peace is the story of veterans who courageously opposed wars ranging from Vietnam to Iraq. This counter-narrative includes Dewey Canyon III at the Miami 1972 GOP Convention demonstrations led by the Vietnam Veterans Against the War. This riveting film explores the metamorphosis of veterans, from those who actually fought in wars, to becoming passionate critics against unnecessary wars.

$20 suggested donation • refreshments available





Organized by the War Resisters Support Campaignwww.resisters.ca

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

"2Revolucion" kicks off 2012-13 PWYC TorontotheBetter movie series on Tues.Sept.25,2012


MOVIE: 2Revolucion
WHEN: Tuesday Sept.25, 2012 - 7pm

WHERE: OISE (252 Bloor St.W. Toronto) Room 2279
PRICE: Pay What You Can

SPEAKER: Paul Bocking, the movie director


Our 2012-13 TorontotheBetter movie series kicks off on Sept.25th with an original movie from Toronto teacher and union activist Paul Bocking. “2Revolucion” tells the stories of Mexcians impacted by The North American Free Trade Agreement. More bust than boom, they tell us. And they are fighting back. 2Revolucion tells us how. Join us in solidarity with our Mexican brothers and sisters in the "free trade" barrel. English and Spanish languages available.

This movie is part of our "Learning with Latin America" series and will be followed in October by Marmato: Manger of Gold, about the impact of Canadian mining company Gran Combia Gold on a Columbian community.

                                      www.TorontotheBetter.net
                                              416-707-3509
                                  postmaster@torontothebetter.net



Monday, 17 September 2012

Let Kim Stay! -- The Fight Continues

TAKE ACTION TO SHOW SUPPORT FOR U.S. IRAQ WAR RESISTER KIMBERLY RIVERA!


Dear friends,
There has been a tremendous response from Canadians to the news that the Harper government plans to deport U.S. Iraq War resister Kimberly Rivera and her family on September 20.
Tens of thousands of people have contacted Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Jason Kenney in the past ten days, calling on him to allow Kim and her family to stay. Actions have taken place from Vancouver to Halifax and more are planned for this week. The fight is not over. We urge you to continue to act on behalf of the Rivera family.

Here are the planned activities for the days ahead:

Monday: - If you haven't already done so, please sign the online letter to Jason Kenney at change.org and make sure you forward it to your lists: www.change.org/LetKimStay
More than 18,000 people have signed so far. Let's push that over the 20,000 mark! -
If you're in Toronto, please attend the Federal Court hearing at 3:30 p.m. at 180 Queen St. West, when Kim's lawyer will be arguing her case.

Tuesday: - Call Jason Kenney's office, and urge him to stop the deportation of the Rivera family: 613.954.1064.

Wednesday: - Join a rally in support of the Rivera family. Bring your banners, flags, and signs in support of Kim and all of the Iraq War resisters.

In Toronto the rally will be held at the Federal Court, 180 Queen Street West, from 4:30 - 6:00 p.m.

For a list of rallies in other cities, go to http://resisters.ca/support-the-rivera-family/

In solidarity,
War Resisters Support Campaign
------
Join the War Resisters Support Campaign:
http://www.resisters.ca/
http://www.twitter.com/WarResisters
http://www.facebook.com/WarResisters
http://www.youtube.com/WarResistersCanada

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Green Enterprise Toronto is here again: Come to the kick-off September 12 event

So, I received an email invitation indicating that the Green Enterprise Toronto GETSmart Speaker Series is being relaunched...Events will take place at 215 Spadina (at the Centre for Social Innovation),every second Wednesday of the month at 8:00 pm. Information for the next event follows:


Nature Clean: a green idea becomes a great business success story!

Featured speaker is the President of Nature Clean, Gina Conte.

You will learn how far Nature Clean has come in establishing a great business with people, planet and profit in mind.

Cost: $12.00, students free. Refreshments included.

When: Wednesday September 12, 2012, 8:00 p.m.

Where: 215 Spadina Avenue, Toronto, M5T 2C7, main floor.

Contact Shirley Segev at gettoronto@bell.net to register.

Stop the Deportation of War Resister Rivera

TAKE ACTION! CALL ON THE GOVERNMENT TO STOP THE DEPORTATION OF WAR RESISTER KIMBERLY RIVERA AND HER FAMILY!
Dear Friends of War Resisters:
As you all know, U.S. war resister Kimberly Rivera, her husband Mario Rivera, and their four children, have been ordered to leave Canada by September 20. While Kim and her lawyer pursue all legal avenues to challenge this, we must take to the streets, to the phones, and to our keyboards, to show that Canadians say:
WAR RESISTERS ARE WELCOME HERE.
Here are several actions you can take in your own community to support the Riveras. We need you to organize in your own community to amplify this message in towns and cities from coast to coast to coast.

1. Friday, September 14 -- DAY OF ACTION
In Toronto: Join petitioning and leafletting at the following locations: • Carrot Common, Danforth Ave • Trinity-St. Paul's Centre, 427 Bloor Street West (near Spadina) • Queen Street West and Dunn Avenue (Parkdale)

Across Canada: Organize local pickets, petitioning, and leafletting! See our website for materials to help get you started. Fill in your own information and hit the streets! http://resisters.ca/support-the-rivera-family/

2. Wednesday, September 19 -- DAY OF ACTION
In Toronto: From 4:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., join a peaceful demonstration at the following location to call on Jason Kenney to halt the deportation of Kim Rivera and her family: • Federal Court Building, 180 Queen Street West, Toronto

Across Canada: Organize a similar demonstration at the same time! You don't need a lot of people. This is the day before the Riveras' removal date. We must raise our collective voice to loudly say: LET THEM STAY.

3. EVERY DAY: Call Jason Kenney
Call Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration. Tell him you support war resister Kim Rivera and you want the government to allow her to stay in Canada. A suggested script for this phone call will be on our website:
http://resisters.ca/support-the-rivera-family/
This takes only a few minutes. Call every day! Office of the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration: 613.954.1064 (9-5 EST)

4. Write Jason Kenney If you haven't done so already, sign a letter to Jason Kenney and your MP. The letter is here:
http://resisters.ca/support-the-rivera-family/letter-to-jason-kenney/
You can write your own letter and send it to: The Honourable Jason Kenney Minister of Citizenship, Immigration, and Multiculturalism 325 East Block House of Commons Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6
Email: minister@cic.gc.ca,
jason.kenney@parl.gc.ca
Fax: 613.957.2688

5. Write a letter to your local newspaper in support of Kim Rivera and all war resisters
Letters to the editor are an effective way to get our message out. Letters to the editor in support of Kim are already popping up in major newspapers. Keep the letter short and simple, and you can reach thousands of people.

6. Donate. THANK YOU to every supporter who has so generously given funds so we can mount this public campaign. If you can, please donate either online or by cheque. To donate online, go to:
http://resisters.chipin.com
To donate by cheque, please make a cheque payable to the War Resisters Support Campaign and mail it to: War Resisters Support Campaign Box 13, 427 Bloor Street West Toronto, ON M5S 1X7 CANADA

THANK YOU FOR ALL YOUR SUPPORT. We have only two weeks to make this campaign as visible and as loud as possible. Kim Rivera risked so much for peace. Now it's our turn to fight for her and her family.

LET THEM STAY!
In solidarity and in peace,
the War Resisters Support Campaign

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

1 item & 2 articles from revived CSEW weekly Email Annoucements...

The Centre for Study of Education and Work is back with their weekly email announcements...a few items of interest I think:


-----
Fall 2012 Assembly of the Greater Toronto Workers' Assembly (GTWA)

Sunday, September 16, 2012; 9:00am until 5:00pm

Steelworkers Hall, 25 Cecil St. Toronto, Ontario

Registration required. All members and supporters are encouraged to attend
and bring guests. Please register as soon as possible to help us plan.
Childcare and lunch provided. Please note your childcare needs upon registering.

Register online here


-----
The Marikana massacre: a turning point? by Martin Legassick from Facts for Working People

The massacre of 34, and almost certainly more, striking mineworkers at
Marikana (together with more than 80 injured) on 16 August has sent waves of
shock and anger across South Africa, rippling around the world. It could
prove a decisive turning-point in our country’s post-apartheid history. A
recent report also states that autopsies reveal that most of the workers
killed at Marikana were shot in the back. That is, they were escaping. A
further blow to the initial police story that they fired because they were
being attacked by an armed mob.


-----
Rethinking Common vs. Private Property


Introduction: Outline of the argument
The purpose of this paper is to suggest a rethinking of the
common-versus-private framing of the property rights issue in the Commons
Movement.

Friday, 31 August 2012

Stand with the Rivera Family










Please attend an emergency community meeting to support U.S. war resister Kimberly Rivera and her family!

WHEN: Wednesday, September 5, 7:00 PM

WHERE: Parkdale United Church, 171 Dunn Avenue, Toronto

WHY: STOP THE DEPORTATIONS!

When Kimberly Rivera saw with her own eyes the devastation of war, and the trauma it inflicts on children and families, she followed her conscience and refused to go back. Instead, she and her husband and their (then) two children came to Canada.

Since that day in 2007, the Riveras have been fighting to live their lives in peace. But despite the widespread support of the Canadian people for U.S. war resisters, and despite two votes in Parliament calling on the government to let war resisters stay, the Harper Government continues to target war resisters for deportation.

Kim and her family - which now includes two children born in Canada - now face deportation on September 20. In the U.S., Kim faces court martial, jail time, and a felony conviction that will follow her for life. All for the "crime" of refusing to participate in the invasion, destruction, and occupation of Iraq.

Kim stood up for peace at great risk to herself. Now we must stand up for Kim, and for other war resisters who face the same struggle. Please join the War Resisters Support Campaign for an emergency community meeting to support the Riveras, and to call on Immigration Minister Jason Kenney to stop the deportation.

Please share this information with your friends and neighbours. We hope to see you there!

In peace and solidarity, the War Resisters Support Campaign


Wednesday, 29 August 2012

UPDATE on status of Iraq War Resisters






Dear Friends of War Resisters: After a period of calm in the cases of U.S. Iraq War resisters, things are quickly coming to a head.

War resister Kimberly Rivera and her family will receive a decision in their case in a few days and they face imminent deportation to the United States. Another war resister has been told to complete all of the submissions for his case by September 20th and to expect a decision shortly afterwards. Many other resisters are awaiting decisions on Humanitarian & Compassionate applications or spousal sponsorships. It appears that these decisions will now start coming in quickly.

Today, we are urgently appealing to you for all types of help to assist with this crucial phase of the fight to win asylum for war resisters.

In spite of two motions passed in the House of Commons calling on the government to allow war resisters to stay in Canada, thousands of letters and petitions, and support across the country for war resisters, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney continue to fight to have every U.S. war resister removed from Canada. Minister Kenney has had Citizenship & Immigration Canada lawyers intervene in the individual hearings and court cases of war resisters. He publicly labelled them "bogus" refugees, biasing the decisions in their cases. And he took the unprecedented step of issuing a bulletin to all Immigration Officers requiring them to red-flag applications that involve war resisters, labelling them as 'criminally inadmissible'. (http://resisters.ca/operational-bulletin-202/)

Faith communities, human rights organizations, refugee rights groups and thousands of Canadians have called on the Minister to implement the motions passed in Parliament, or, at a minimum, to allow the individual cases to be heard on their own merits – the same free and independent consideration that Minister Kenney insists was given to Conrad Black.

The only reason that U.S. Iraq War resisters have been able to stay in Canada as long as they have is because of the tremendous support they have received from Canadians for their courageous decision to stand up against a war that was internationally recognized as illegal and immoral. In the coming days and weeks we will be asking supporters to once again take action to let the government know that Canadians still support the war resisters and believe as strongly as ever that they should be allowed to stay.

But we also urgently need funds. We are fighting a federal government that has unlimited resources, and they are dropping a deportation order on the eve of a long weekend, with Parliament not sitting, with possibly only days before the Riveras face removal. To build a public campaign in such a short period of time, we will need to pull out all stops to demand that the federal government not deport any war resisters.

Nobody deserves to spend even a single day in jail for making a conscientious decision not to participate in the Iraq War. A victory for U.S. war resisters in Canada will be a major victory for peace and justice, and for the kind of Canada we want this country to be.

Thank you, as always, for your past and ongoing support. In peace and solidarity, War Resisters Support Campaign www.resisters.ca
 -----------
For anyone who is able to and wishes to donate, here is how to do it:

1. Donate online by going here: http://resisters.chipin.com
2. Donate by cheque: To mail us a donation, please make a cheque payable to the War Resisters Support Campaign and mail it to:
War Resisters Support Campaign Box 13, 427 Bloor Street West Toronto, ON M5S 1X7 CANADA

Monday, 27 August 2012

International Solidarity: ASF action day for Domino-pizza struggle

Taodhg suggested reposting this appeal as action against a "non-social" enterprise, so...

some news from down under: the Australian Anarcho-Syndicalist Federation is calling for an nternational Day of Action against Domino-Pizza on September 15th.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Teenager's Lake crossing a model for activists


from Hector Bunyan, Board of Directors -TorontotheBetter Larning and Development
________________________________________________________________________________
Annaleise Carr -

A heartfelt thank you, Annaleise, When they said you were too young, they had no clue of your spirit's maturity.

When they said you couldn't do it, they were clueless about the size and sincerity of your dream. You are an inspiration to all generations, everywhere.

From Toronto The Better



Thursday, 16 August 2012

Support Colombian Prison Strikers: Take Action Today!

An appeal from the alliance for global justice:

TAKE ACTION FOR COLOMBIA'S STRIKING PRISONERS!

Over 11,000 Colombian prisoners in 21 penitentiaries have been participating in a hunger strike and other forms of nonviolent protests since August 2nd. They are demanding sanitary and healthy conditions, an end to overcrowding and an end to the extraditions out of Colombia of prisoners important to the peace process. Degrading conditions in Colombian prisons are part of a restructuring of the penal system that has been funded and advised by the US government. On Wednesday, August 15, 2012, Colombians in Bogotá will be protesting at both the US Embassy and the Colombian Capitol. 

Following is a sample script for emails or phone calls:

I am contacting you in solidarity with the more than 11,000 hunger strikers in 21 Colombian prisons who are demanding better conditions and a legitimate peace process. They are calling on the Colombian government to declare a State of Emergency in the country's corrections facilities and to install a National Board of Consultation with inmate representation to end the prisons' humanitarian crisis.

I demand that the US government investigate the US funded and advised Program for the Improvement of the Colombian Prison System (PICPS). US oversight has helped create these bad prison conditions.  Under the PICPS, assaults and torture of prisoners have become commonplace, food is often spoiled, rotten and contaminated, access to clean water is limited to a few minutes per day and health care is routinely denied.

I also call on the US government to end its practice of extraditing Prisoners of War and paramilitary prisoners whose presence in Colombia is needed for the country's peace process and fact finding efforts. Especially I call on the US government to end the extreme isolation of the Prisoner of War Ricardo Palmera while he is being held in the US, and to end the practice of solitary confinement in all US prisons.

To contact the Colombian Embassy:
embassyofcolombia@colombiaemb.org , or call 202-387-8338 
To contact your Congress Person:
http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/

Saturday, 11 August 2012

On August 15, WHEN launches the Cancer Prevention Challenge!

...There are many ways to participate in the Cancer Prevention Challenge:

* Become a participant: Register your own event, and ask friends and family to sponsor you. We are looking for expert fundraisers!
* Sponsor a participant: Find a participant who's event speaks to you, and sponsor him/her by donating on his/her events page.
* Donate to WHEN: If you are too busy to browse through the list of challenges and events, or can't decide who to sponsor, you can simply donate to WHEN. Our work is focused on the prevention of environmentally related diseases.


See the Women's Healthy Environments Network August 2012 News Buleetion for more details...

Monday, 30 July 2012

The horror! The horror? - A reply to Councillor Holyday

Woke up downtown this morning and what did I see? The sun, a prize-winning coop garden, birds singing. But look over there: high  buildings, a tidy garbage receptacle, and worst of all, no cars. How do we stand it? What will we do? Can we go on? Help needed? No, we and the kids are just fine.

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Empty seats at London Olympics - sounds familiar?

It's the Toronto Maple Leaf syndrome, soon coming to a major sports event near you, Corporations buy the seats but who wants to go to a minor (you choose which) event on a rainy - it's London so this is special to the location but not a clincher - weekday afternoon? Well not the average person, but particularly a non-sporty type whose company offers them the tickets as a corporate bribe. Sounds familiar? Been happening at Leaf games for quite some time.  The corporate takeover of sports will be complete when the games are held in studios and that incidental spectator component is excluded, or piped in or, a few anyway, paid to show up. Time for some new ideas about how to keep sports in sporting events.

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Urban Agriculture Summit coming to Toronto in August

Healthy Food and cities are not contradictory ideas. There are lots of TorontotheBetter stores and services that prove it. And there is a
growing Make Food Wherever You Are [we call it MFWYA] movement.
Want to learn how? Try the Urban Agriculture Summit in Toronto from
August 15-18, 2012.

Monday, 2 July 2012

The real Euro soccer result?

EURO soccer championship result: Barclays Premier League:Lots - Others:less
While several of England’s premier league soccer players like Mario Balotelli, have bathed in two weeks of soccer glory, a story that didn’t initially have much media clout outside the financial pages was the demise of Marcus Agius the chairman of the British bank which “owns” the  English Premier League, or, as I should properly have put it, the "Barclays Premier League". Agius was fired for fixing rates and thus, intervening in the "free play" of the marketplace, an ostensible no-no ,i.e. the non-interference, not the interference (I know it's confusing - the neo-con aka neo-liberal economic geniuses like Alan Greenspan who got us into this mess have admitted their own "bewilderment", though not their public indebtedness of course), in today’s post 2008 financial crisis environment, which has seen regulation return to the marketplace, at least for the time being, or, more precisely, at least as a topic for discussion. Less ironic than revealing, perhaps, that the value of Barclays premier league players continue to grow while the reputation of at least one of the same bank’s leaders takes a fall. At a time when irony seems quaintly outdated, the fact that Barclays started, way back, way, way back, as a Quaker bank and that Agius' manipulations likely caused his fellow 1%-ers the most immediate inconvenience, making him a kind of true believer in the dishonour among thieves code, these matters we shall pass by. In commerce, if not football,  there are some teams that never lose, whatever the score. Even Spain, now victorious in three consecutive soccer championships, did, and will, lose once in a while. But with 20% unemployment, and rising, it is the people of Spain who are losing right now, even as their soccer players and teams reap even greater rewards. Are we back to the days of bread and circuses? If I were in Spain I might start to think so, even though there’s little work to whistle my victory song to.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

2012 International Co-operative Economics conference in Quebeec City

The 2012 International Conference on Co-operative Economics - will take place in Quebec City from Oct. 6-8, 2012. One important part of the social economy in Canada, and globally, is co-operative enterprise. Several new research studies on co-operative economics will be released at the Quebec City Conference. See http://www.imagine2012.coop/ for details.                             

And, by the way, in case anybody reading this wants to help others understand why cutting business taxes will not create a better world than social purpose enterprise see  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bBx2Y5HhplI

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Register now - Calling all Playing for Keeps Neighbourhood Games Volunteers!

Want to help build a better Toronto?
Are you interested in the idea of Neighbourhood Games?
Would you benefit from leadership training?   
    

Register now for special volunteer training and expand your involvement
in the Playing for Keeps movement. 

Playing for Keeps is currently recruiting 200 volunteers from across Toronto - people like you who want to make a difference and leverage the impact of the 2012 Ontario Summer Games (OSG). With Playing for Keeps training at George Brown College, you will become special volunteers at the OSG and neighbourhood ambassadors initiating Playing for Keeps Neighbourhood Games in your local communities.

We aim to have all 200 volunteers registered by Wednesday, June 13 (first come, first served). Training will be provided at no cost to you and transit tokens and food will be provided during the four-day training.


Benefits:
  • Connect with a diverse range of people
  • Get Playing for Keeps Volunteer Training at George Brown College to become a community leader - Leadership, Community Engagement, Citizenship and Event Organizing training is provided
  • Expand your personal and professional networks
  • Gain meaningful volunteer experience
  • Receive a certificate of completion from George Brown College
  • Network with local business owners and community organizers
  • TTC tokens and food provided for training days
Commitment:
  • Attend Playing for Keeps training, offered at no cost, in downtown Toronto at the George Brown College downtown campus on June 23/24 and July 7/8 (20 hours in total)
  • Attend a 3-hour Ontario Summer Games training in July/August
  • Volunteer for a minimum of 4-8 hours at the Ontario Summer Games (August 16-19)
  • Volunteer to initiate Playing for Keeps Neighbourhood Games in your own communities  
Hope you'll join in and help build healthier, more active and better connected communities!

Sincerely,
Rosalyn Morrison
Chair, 2012 Ontario Summer Games Legacies Committee 
Advisory Group, Playing for Keeps

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Steelworkers' union embraces worker co-op model

In what is a first for North American unions the United Steelworkers has announced a partnership with the Mondragon co-op giant in Spain to promote the worker co-op model in the U.S. For details see: http://www.thenation.com/blog/167048/worker-ownership-21st-century

TorontotheBetter sees such union-community developments as a necessary and positive evolution of unions to adopt more muscular public policies to address the current crisis in the mainstream economy. Libra worker co-op, the parent of TorontotheBetter, itself adopted the unionized co-op model in 2006 when it joined the Toronto branch of the Industrial Workers of the World.

Stay tuned to the TorontotheBetter blog for more on this important issue.

Monday, 28 May 2012

MEC & Urbane Cyclist at Bike Month 2012

In addition to Urbane Cyclist's numerous events at this year's Bike Month, Mountain Equipment Co-op is hosting a Bikefest at the Distillery District all day on June 23rd. From the Bike Month event page:


"Along with fun and festivities, MEC Bikefest is a hub of knowledge where cyclists new and old can make connections and get the information they need to pursue their passion. Proceeds from this event will be donated to our non-profit partner, the Toronto Cyclists Union."

Thursday, 10 May 2012

LET THEM STAY!

Celebrate International Day for Conscientious Objection by calling on the government to rescind Operational Bulletin 202


Dear supporters of U.S. war resisters in Canada,


You haven't heard from us at the War Resisters Support Campaign recently, but the resisters are still here, living lives of uncertainty, though also filled with the joys of daily living and working. Our work continues. We need your help!

Tuesday, May 15 is the International Day for Conscientious Objection. This is the day we have chosen to revitalize the impact of our campaign, and to press for the elimination of Immigration Minister Kenney's Operational Bulletin 202.

This bulletin, which asks immigration officers to refer the cases of all American war resisters to their superior officers, has effectively stopped the progress of resisters to resident's status in Canada, even when the courts have ruled in their favour. We need you, and anyone else you can recruit to help, to email Immigration Minister Jason Kenney and your MP on May 15.

 At this link http://resisters.ca/, you can do this in one step! It will also go to the relevant Opposition Leaders and critics. You may edit and personalize the letter if you wish. Thanks so much for your help on this day, and for all of the work you have done for war resisters. War Resisters Support Campaign. http://www.resisters.ca/

P.S. Minister Kenney recently claimed that there was no political intervention in the decision to grant a residency permit to Conrad Black. Yet he has consistently intervened in the cases of U.S. soldiers, by directing immigration officers to red-flag them as potential criminals.

We denounce this double standard by the Conservative government, and we call on Minister Kenney to immediately rescind Operational Bulletin 202 so that Iraq War resisters can get a decision without political interference.

If you're in the Toronto area, join us as we write, email, fax, phone, and tweet Minister Kenney. There will be an update on the campaign, as well as refreshments.
WHEN: Tuesday, May 15, 2012, 7:00 p.m.
WHERE: United Steelworkers Hall, 25 Cecil Street, Toronto
WHY: Let Them Stay!

Sunday, 6 May 2012

"Janadesh: People's Verdict" - Tues. May 15 PWYC movie to support the landless in India

WHERE?: OISE (252 Bloor St. West) Room 5-150
WHEN?: 7pm Tues. May 15th
TITLE: Janadesh: People's Verdict
SPEAKER: Movie Director Chandra Siddan who has just returned from India

Janadesh documents a march to New Delhi by thousands in India's poor and landless 
social mvements, to force action from India's parliamentarians. We are calling for 
Canadian support for the new Janadesh march planned to take place in October, 012.

Another in TorontotheBetter's series of PWYC movies for a better Toronto and a better World.
                                              "OUR TORONTO INCLUDES THE WORLD"   

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

"Indigenous Roots of the Americas" - PWYC Video and Discussion - 7pm Tues. Apr. 24,2012





WHEN/WHERE: 7pm, Tuesday April 24th, 2012 at OISE (252 Bloor St. West – Room 5-150)
Panel discussion led by PhD candidate working with the Aymara in Chile, exploring the shared cultural heritage of Indigenous Peoples throughout the Americas; with the Pan-Am Games coming to Toronto in 2015 the time is ripe for a consideration of what events like the Games mean for First Nations, and for all of us who now live on native grounds.

We will be featuring a trailer from Michael Sekaquaptewa’s documentary “Eagles and Condors” (2012) available at: http://www.michaelsekaquaptewa.com/ or http://youtu.be/nkg5ZTQsvBk
 
This event is a co-production of non-profits TorontotheBetter Learning and Development, and the Hispanic Development Council through our joint Red Panamericana programme.
 
Pay What You Can - we encourage contributions to support the TorontotheBetter movie/speaker series.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

The University is Ours - Toronto conference, 27-29 April 2012

All are invited to attend:

"The University is Ours: A conference on struggles within and beyond the neoliberal university"
to be held in Toronto, primarily at U of T, from April 27-29.
 
The conference is being organized by a loose coalition of faculty, students and staff  from across the country (including several of us from UWO) who feel that Canadian university activists and critics desperately need a venue to come together to discuss strategies for dealing with the on-going attack on public education. And, given the student struggles against austerity in Europe, North Africa, and the US over the past few years, we also wanted to provide a chance for activists and academics from all over the globe to join with us in sharing their experiences and re-imagining the future of the university. 

You can check out the conference website, with program here: 
http://www.torontoedufactory.wordpress.com

Admission is free for all students and precariously employed academic workers. For those with full time emplyment, we are asking for a small registration fee.
If you are interested in attending any or all of the conference, please RSVP  at: universityisour@gmail.com

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Good Catch MircoLoans!

From Jola Sobolak of Good Catch General Store, an impressive micro loan programme:


Dear Friend: I have been thrilled to realize how MicroLoans are possible...Good Catch is a Community Store with a heart and soul...please kindly review below about the possibility of a MicroLoan to enable your community store to keep on keeping on in stronger ways!

Pass on this message to someone you know or please contact me if you may be interested in a quick support with a thank you from within your community! People have already come aboard! Please consider the support and hope you understand that it will, in turn, support you! Yours, Jola.

-----

For your Good Catch Micro Loan:

$500 on this day: xxxx, 2012

Payable to "Jola's Good Catch General Store", 1556 Queen St. West, Toronto M6R 1A6 416-533-4664


Here's How It Works:

Within 3 months the Micro Loan is Paid Back with $50 Thank You Bonus and 7%-off store purchase card.

Within 2 weeks of start of Micro Loan, you will receive 5 cheques* each at $100 and dated 2 weeks apart starting 2 weeks after start of Micro Loan. The 7%-off store purchase card** expires at the end of the 4th calendar month from date of loan and its return grants you your Thank You Bonus stated above which will be written on the back of the card.


*cheques can be redeemable to pay off an accumulated Good Catch tab (yes we do tabs!)

*cheques can be redeemable for CASH upon their date at the store (please bring your I.D.)

*cheques can be deposited into your bank account upon date on cheque


**7%-off store purchase card valid for any purchases within store until card expiry (which corresponds to end of Micro Loan)

**7%-off store purchase card can be redeemed at their expiry for value stated on back of card at time of return (please bring your I.D.)


Thank you once again! You are making a good thing happen!

Power to the Community! Spread the Word!

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

2012 Brewers Plate Benefits Green Thumbs Growing Kids

Proceeds from this year's Brewers Plate event, occurring at Roy Thomson Hall on April 18th, will go to Green Thumbs Growing Kids.

From Brewers Plate Founding Director and 2012 Co-Chair, Chris Lowry:


"Proceeds from the Brewers Plate 2012 will benefit a dynamic organization called Green Thumbs Growing Kids.

GTGK's mission is to work with urban children, youth and their families to learn about, grow and prepare fresh foods, cultivated in an environmentally sustainable manner in hands-on programs.

Their garden-based programs are centred around hands-on learning and include soil health and composting, native edibles and medicinal plants, food plants from all over the world and local seasonal fruits and vegetables. They partner with the City of Toronto and the school boards, using greenhouse space and land toward the vision of A Garden In Every School. By starting with an edible garden, children learn about the intricate relationship of food to nature and get to explore with all their senses.

The selection process this year was down to a short list of four wonderful local food and farming groups in the Toronto region. Congratulations to Green Thumbs Growing Kids!"

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Bitter Seeds - PWYC movie about desperation of Indian farmers - Tuesday March 27th

Bitter Seeds, the final film in Micha X Peled's Gobalization trilogy links the
GMO actions of biotech giant Monsanto to an epidemic of suicides among Indian farmers.

Our speaker is a veteran of Ekta Parishad people's organization in India.

Where?: OISE - 252 Bloor St.West. Room 4422
When?: 7pm, Tues. March 27,2012



2012 TorontotheBetter movie series

Toronto Library Workers Strike

See:  http://ourpubliclibrary.to/

Friday, 2 March 2012

Film Night: WAR MADE EASY




Fundraising dinner and movie
MONDAY MARCH 19, 2012
Steelworkers Hall
25 Cecil Street, Toronto
6:00 pm Dinner
7:00 pm Campaign Update and Film Screening

As the campaign to win asylum for US Iraq War resisters enters its 8th year, join us for dinner, a campaign update and a screening of the film WAR MADE EASY: How Presidents & Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death, narrated by Sean Penn.

Watch the film trailer: http://youtu.be/H5CF5pfVzLI

$20 suggested donation • refreshments

Organized by the War Resisters Support Campaign •
http://www.resisters.ca/

Monday, 27 February 2012

No Mining on Sacred Lands! Support KI Indigenous Nation on March 5th

No Mining on Sacred Lands!
KI Speaks Out Against God's Lake Resources and McGuinty government.


KI LEADERS SPEAK, NEW VIDEO LAUNCHED
Monday March 5, 2012; 6:30pm
Steelworkers' Hall - 25 Cecil Street, Downtown Toronto

RALLY AND MARCH WITH KI
Tuesday March 6, 2012; 12:30 p.m. - 255 Front St. W.

N.B. Come early at 11:30 to participate in the Mining Injustice Solidarity Network actions http://www.facebook.com/events/278041455596726/.

God's Lake Resources Inc., a mining exploration company, is threatening to re-enter the Homeland of the Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (KI) Indigenous Nation this month to resume exploring on sacred burial grounds. KI has told God's Lake Resources that they are not welcome on their Homeland. Ontario has refused to step in and stop the exploration and KI is calling for public support and mobilization, particularly in Toronto and Southern Ontario.

As part of this broader mobilization, the Toronto KI Support Group, CUPE 3902, OPIRG U of T, the University of Toronto Graduate Students' Union, Earthroots, Mining Watch Canada, and Council of Canadians are organizing a speaking event on March 5, 2012 at the Steelworkers' Hall at 25 Cecil Street in Toronto.

At these events KI leaders will speak to the public about the situation they are facing with God's Lake Resources Inc. and about KI’s bold vision for their homeland and environment..  

For more information about how you can help build this mobilization, please check out the Toronto KI Support Network's facebook page at  www.facebook.com/TorontoKISupport and KI's website, www.kilands.org

Saturday, 25 February 2012

1 March 2012: A Night To Remember - Fundraiser for Migrant Worker Families

A fundraiser has been announced at the Lula Lounge for the families of the Peruvian agricultural workers killed in the Hampstead vehicle accident on February 6th:


What:
A Night to Remember
Fundraiser for Migrant Worker Families
Featuring live Peruvian music
Donation $20

Where:
Lula Lounge
1535 Dundas At. West

When:
Thursday, March 1st
Doors open at 7:00

For more details, see the Lula Lounge's A Night To Remember event page here.

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Ontario Mapuche Support Group Presentation; 24 February 2012

THE ONTARIO MAPUCHE SUPPORT GROUP INVITES YOU TO A PRESENTATION AND CONVERSATION ON HUMAN RIGHTS AND THE MAPUCHE SITUATION WITH JOSE AYLWIN: Co-Director of Observatorio Ciudadano: Citizens' Watchdog in Temuco, Chile, Human Rights lawyer and Board Member of the North – South Institute.
OISE, 252 Bloor Street West, on Thursday, February 24, at 6:00 PM.

Jose Aylwin is a human rights lawyer from Chile, specializing in Indigenous peoples and citizens' rights in Latin America. He is currently the acting Co-Director of the Observatorio Ciudadano (Citizens' Watch), an NGO which promotes the protection of human rights in Chile (www.observatorio.cl). His research has been published by many different organizations including the University of La Frontera, Chile, the United Nations (ECLAC), the Inter-American Institute for Human Rights, IWGIA (Denmark), and the University of Montana, on topics including Indigenous peoples' land rights, ombudsmanship in Latin America, globalization and human rights in Latin America and human rights in Chile. Mr. Aylwin graduated in legal and juridical studies at the Faculty of Law of the University of Chile in Santiago and obtained a Master’s Degree from the School of Law at the University of British Columbia, in Vancouver, Canada. He also teaches Indigenous Peoples' Rights at the School of Law at the Universidad Austral de Chile, in Valdivia, Chile

The North-South Institute is Canada's oldest independent policy research institution specializing in effective international development. At NSI we focus on identifying policies and practices seeking to reduce poverty and global inequalities thereby contributing to the creation of a more prosperous and stable global community. 

Brief Summary of the Mapuche situation.
The Mapuche make up 87 percent of indigenous people in Chile and one million of the country’s 16 million people. Their ancestral territory spans the southern tip of South America across Argentina and Chile. Most of the Mapuche territory was lost in the late 19th century through abusive measures and harassment in the so called “Pacificacion de la Araucania” by successive governments. Later, particularly under the Pinochet regime, international forestry and mining companies were offered incentives to operate in the Araucania region, as a result, indigenous communities who generally have no formal land titles to their ancestral properties, have been increasingly forced off their land. The Chilean state has labeled the Mapuche struggle as “terrorist activities” and has repressed it with “anti-terrorist laws” established during the Pinochet Dictatorship. This repressive legislation has only been used by the Chilean State in post-dictatorship time against the First Nations and their supporters, except for one case. Accusations of terrorism “justify” long secret investigations that can last years and make access to a fair trial almost impossible. The anti-terrorist laws include practices such as long periods of arrest on remand, “protected witnesses”: prosecutors present witnesses with concealed identity and “double trials”, where the accused are condemned in civil and military courts resulting in heavier sentences. 

The government’s treatment of the Mapuches violates many UN International accords including the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and the ILO Convention 169.

The aim of the Ontario Mapuche Support Group is to assist with the legal costs of their trials. Very few lawyers step up to defend Mapuches because they must work without pay since most of those accused are very poor and those in prison are often the only source of income for their families. It also means that those defending Mapuches are later ostracized from further legal work and even become a target of the state, a case in point: the lawyer Karina Riquelme who became well known for her defense of Mapuche minors accused of terrorism, she is now accused of having practiced as a lawyer just before fully completing her degree. 

In 2008, Canadian outward foreign direct investment in Chile was measured at $8.346 billion. Canada's priority sectors in Chile are among those that have most aggravated the Mapuche conflicts, including mining, forestry, fishing and agricultural industries.

How can you help change this situation?
* Demand that the Canadian Government ensures that Canadian companies working abroad comply with the regulations regarding protection of peoples and their environment as established in Canada.
* Become an International Observer of the Mapuche trials
* Support the costs of the Mapuche’s legal defense
* Join the Ontario Mapuche Support Group: call (416) 441-1872

Feb.24, 2012 @6pm - THE ONTARIO MAPUCHE SUPPORT GROUP INVITES YOU TO A PRESENTATION AND CONVERSATION ON HUMAN RIGHTS AND THE MAPUCHE SITUATION WITH JOSE AYLWIN:

THE ONTARIO MAPUCHE SUPPORT GROUP INVITES YOU TO A PRESENTATION AND CONVERSATION ON HUMAN RIGHTS AND THE MAPUCHE SITUATION WITH JOSE AYLWIN: Co-Director of Observatorio Ciudadano: Citizens' Watchdog in Temuco, Chile, Human Rights lawyer and Board Member of the North – South Institute.


Room 5-260. OISE, 252 Bloor Street West, on Thursday, February 24, at 6:00 PM.
Jose Aylwin is a human rights lawyer from Chile, specializing in Indigenous peoples and citizens' rights in Latin America. He is currently the acting Co-Director of the Observatorio Ciudadano (Citizens' Watch), an NGO which promotes the protection of human rights in Chile (www.observatorio.cl). His research has been published by many different organizations including the University of La Frontera, Chile, the United Nations (ECLAC), the Inter-American Institute for Human Rights, IWGIA (Denmark), and the University of Montana, on topics including Indigenous peoples' land rights, ombudsmanship in Latin America, globalization and human rights in Latin America and human rights in Chile. Mr. Aylwin graduated in legal and juridical studies at the Faculty of Law of the University of Chile in Santiago and obtained a Master’s Degree from the School of Law at the University of British Columbia, in Vancouver, Canada. He also teaches Indigenous Peoples' Rights at the School of Law at the Universidad Austral de Chile, in Valdivia, Chile.



The North-South Institute is Canada's oldest independent policy research institution specializing in effective international development. At NSI we focus on identifying policies and practices seeking to reduce poverty and global inequalities thereby contributing to the creation of a more prosperous and stable global community.



Brief Summary of the Mapuche situation.



The Mapuche make up 87 percent of indigenous people in Chile and one million of the country’s 16 million people. Their ancestral territory spans the southern tip of South America across Argentina and Chile. Most of the Mapuche territory was lost in the late 19th century through abusive measures and harassment in the so called “Pacificacion de la Araucania” by successive governments. Later, particularly under the Pinochet regime, international forestry and mining companies were offered incentives to operate in the Araucania region, as a result, indigenous communities who generally have no formal land titles to their ancestral properties, have been increasingly forced off their land. The Chilean state has labeled the Mapuche struggle as “terrorist activities” and has repressed it with “anti-terrorist laws” established during the Pinochet Dictatorship. This repressive legislation has only been used by the Chilean State in post-dictatorship time against the First Nations and their supporters, except for one case. Accusations of terrorism “justify” long secret investigations that can last years and make access to a fair trial almost impossible. The anti-terrorist laws include practices such as long periods of arrest on remand, “protected witnesses”: prosecutors present witnesses with concealed identity and “double trials”, where the accused are condemned in civil and military courts resulting in heavier sentences.



The government’s treatment of the Mapuches violates many UN International accords including the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and the ILO Convention 169.



The aim of the Ontario Mapuche Support Group is to assist with the legal costs of their trials. Very few lawyers step up to defend Mapuches because they must work without pay since most of those accused are very poor and those in prison are often the only source of income for their families. It also means that those defending Mapuches are later ostracized from further legal work and even become a target of the state, a case in point: the lawyer Karina Riquelme who became well known for her defense of Mapuche minors accused of terrorism, she is now accused of having practiced as a lawyer just before fully completing her degree.



In 2008, Canadian outward foreign direct investment in Chile was measured at $8.346 billion. Canada's priority sectors in Chile are among those that have most aggravated the Mapuche conflicts, including mining, forestry, fishing and agricultural industries.



How can you help change this situation?

* Demand that the Canadian Government ensures that Canadian companies working abroad comply with the regulations regarding protection of peoples and their environment as established in Canada.

* Become an International Observer of the Mapuche trials

* Support the costs of the Mapuche’s legal defense

* Join the Ontario Mapuche Support Group: call (416) 441-1872