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Thursday, 29 November 2007

Fair Trade Clothing Co-op Provides Shirts for Dali Lama Visit

I received some good news concerning a TorontoTheBetter member today, via the Ontario Co-operative Association:


FAIR TRADE T-SHIRTS SUPPORT THE WORK OF TIBETAN ASSOCIATION

The Fair Trade Clothing Co-op recently sold 5,000 fairly traded shirts to the Canadian Tibetan Association of Ontario (CTAO).

These were distributed at the Rogers Centre for the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet's visit to Toronto. The CTAO was delighted to find a fair trade option within Toronto.

The shirts are made in El Salvador by a co-op of single mothers. The clothes are distributed within Canada by JustShirts Clothing Co-operative and bought by organizations like the Fair Trade Clothing Co-op, who are fighting for social justice and creating an alternative for socially conscious consumers.

Tuesday, 27 November 2007

YWCA Boutique needs new retail space due to Condo Craziness

Condo camp craziness, an article in the Nov. 22. 2007 issue of Eye Weekly, is an excellent case study regarding what the real estate market is coming to...

I mention it here because, as a result of the redevelopment at 1 Bloor East, the YWCA of Greater Toronto International Boutique is looking for a new, affordable storefront location. Anybody have any ideas?

Monday, 26 November 2007

Mayan Struggles: Fair Trade vs. Free Trade (discussion on neoliberalism and alternatives)

Another relevant announcement from the The Centre for the Study of Education and Work:


MAYAN STRUGGLES: FAIR TRADE VS. FREE TRADE

Wednesday, November 28th; 7-9 p.m.
OISE - 252 Bloor Street West; 5th Floor, Room 5250

An interactive discussion on neoliberalism and alternatives, featuring Leocadio Juracan, Fair Trade coordinator and national representative, Campesino Committee of the Highlands - CCDA (a movement that defends the lands and culture of the Mayan peoples in Guatemala.

Presented by Latin America Solidarity Committee, Toronto, and U of T OPIRG. Sponsored by Cafe Justicia, endorsed by The International Secretariat for Human Development (York University), New Socialist Latin American Working Group.


See the Campesino Committee of the Highlands website for more information.

Friday, 23 November 2007

Help Renew Co-Operative Development Initiative

If you're a member or a supporter of co-operatives, you'll be interested in this blurb from a recent Co-operative News Digest:


YOU CAN HELP GET THE CDI INITIATIVE RENEWED.

Canada’s two national co-op associations have developed a proposal that will use
co-operatives as a way to meet many of today’s federal policy challenges. The
Canadian Co-operative Association (CCA) and Conseil Canadien de la Coopération (CCC) want to renew and expand their current Co-operative Development Initiative (CDI) partnership with the federal government, which is set to end on March 31, 2008.

CCA, CCO, and their partners (including On Co-op) are looking for
your support in helping get this important initiative renewed.


- For more information, visit Harness the Power of Co-operation.

Thursday, 22 November 2007

A TORONTOTHEBETTER PWYC MOVIE AND A TORONTO PREMIERE

A TORONTOTHEBETTER PWYC MOVIE AND A TORONTO PREMIERE
_____________________________________________

MIGRANTS: THOSE WHO COME FROM WITHIN /
MIGRANTES: LOS QUE VENIMOS DE ADENTRO
Directed by Aaraón Díaz Mendiburo, Mexico, 2007, 45 min.,
Spanish with English subtitles

FRIDAY NOVEMBER 23RD, 2007, 7 to 9PM
BRUNSWICK THEATRE - 296 BRUNSWICK AVE (@BLOOR), Toronto

What happens when Ontario's Mexican migrant workers get back home­?

Meet Director Aaraón Díaz, Researcher Janet McLaughlin
(University of Toronto), and Kate Sheese (York
University) from Justicia for Migrant Workers (J4MW)

Migrantes portraits the experiences of various Mexican
migrant workers that come to Canada and the U.S.
through the SAWP/PTAT Seasonal Agricultural Workers
Program. Initiated in 1974, at least 12,980
Mexican migrant workers were registered in 2003, and
there has been a growing presence of women since 1989,
further transforming the reality of those who migrate
to work and of those who wait for them to return home.
The film focuses on the livelihood of peasant workers
from the Mexican town of Cuijingo who have worked in
greenhouses and farms near Ontario towns such as
Leamington, Simcoe, and St. Catharines, and how their
experiences weave around the common thread of
migration. The director, Aaraón Díaz, uses an old
metaphor of human beings as working bodies and of the
workers as a body; when the body gets sick, all the
members get sick, and therefore health is also a main
subject of the film. Migrantes shows the ways in which
migrant workers view themselves, their families, and
their work by telling us intimate stories and dreams
as well the costs and struggles of working abroad.
This film captures the audience and leaves the
audience wanting to join migrant workers for improved
labour conditions.

- (Daniella Jofré(PhD Student, University of Toronto, IWW and Libra Co-Op member)

Aaraón Díaz came from the Autonomous University of
Mexico to Canada this fall to work on his Master's
Degree in social work. For his thesis he decided to
study migrant workers in Canada and to this end
he made a film about them, Migrants: Those who Come
from Within. Aaraón Díaz is now working on his next
film which will deal with the living
conditions and the rights of the migrants in Canada.

Janet McLaughlin is a PhD candidate in Medical
Anthropology at the University of Toronto. She holds a
Master's Degree in Human Rights from the University of
Sussex, and has also been a research training
fellow at the Institute for Work and Health in
Toronto. Her doctoral research investigates Mexican
and Caribbean seasonal agricultural workers with a
focus in Ontario's Niagara region, and has involved
over three years of fieldwork in Canada, Mexico and
Jamaica. Her specific focus is on health and safety
issues among the workers, and evaluating their access
to workplace protections and support systems.

Janet and Aaraón have worked closely in Mexico and now
in Canada, and have been presenting the film and their
research findings together throughout Canada and in
Mexico. Throughout their research they have
also volunteered with migrant workers, providing them
with informational workshops and various support
services.

Kate Sheese has been working with Justicia for Migrant
Workers since 2005. She is currently studying Women's
Health at York University and much of her involvement
in Justicia has been around issues of women's sexual,
reproductive, and mental health.

More info:
www.justicia4migrantworkers.org,
www.december18.net,
www.briarpatchmagazine.com,
www.torontothebetter.net,
www.chass.utoronto.ca/anthropology

-- MOVIE, DISCUSSION, ACTION
-- WORKER CO-OP AND UNION SIGN-UP OPPORTUNITIES
-- SPONSORED BY 'ANTHROPOLOGY OF THE AMERICAS' AND THE
DEPARTMENT OF ANTHROPOLOGY, UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO
-- IN PARTNERSHIP WITH THE ONTARIO WORKER CO-OP FEDERATION (OWCF)
AND THE TORONTO BRANCH OF THE INDUSTRIAL WORKERS OF THE WORLD (IWW)
-- STAY TUNED FOR THE 2008 TORONTOTHEBETTER FILM SERIES (www.torontothebetter.net)

FRIDAY NOVEMBER 23RD, 2007, 7-9PM
BRUNSWICK THEATRE - 296 BRUNSWICK AVE (@BLOOR), Toronto

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Winds of Change, Grounds of Hope! (Fair Trade Event at Alternative Grounds)

If you can, check out this event at Alternative Grounds Coffee House:


WINDS OF CHANGE, GROUNDS FOR HOPE!

Wednesday, November 21st, 7-9 p.m.
Alternative Grounds Cafe, 333 Roncesvalles Ave.
(South of Howard Park)

Exploring Fair Trade & Sustainable Community Development in the
Dominican Republic.

Join us and Stefanie Hall from the Dominican
Canadian Community Development Group, and learn about grassroots and
community-led initiatives that are making a change for the better in
the lives of hundreds of small farmers and their families in the
Dominican Republic. DCCD participates in community-directed
development projects and leads visits to the DR as a way to build
strong relationships and solidarity across borders.

Fair Trade and organic Dominican coffee will be available for sampling and tasting!

Monday, 19 November 2007

Protest pending Canada-Colombia free trade deal

An appeal from the Maquila Solidarity Network:


Dear friends;

The Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) is asking labour and solidarity
activists to take action to protest a pending free trade agreement
between Canada and Colombia.

MSN is passing along this appeal because we share the CLC's concern
that the Canadian government is negotiating more trade deals without
any substantial labour, social, human rights or environmental
protections.

In the case of Colombia, those protections are critical. The current
government is accused of corruption, links to paramilitary death
squads, drug traffickers, and state sanctioned impunity for crimes
committed.

The Canadian government has chosen to ignore this in the interests of
signing a trade deal. First announced in June of this year, the
Canadian government has put "free trade" negotiations with Colombia
on overdrive while keeping them away from public scrutiny. There are
some official expectations that a deal can be concluded by the end of
this month.

To protest the signing of a trade agreement with Colombia that
contains no substantial social, environmental and human rights
protections, please go to:

http://canadianlabour.ca/index.php/colombia_projects/1277


--
Aylwin Lo | alo@maquilasolidarity.org
Information and communications officer

Maquila Solidarity Network
http://www.maquilasolidarity.org/
416-532-8584

Monday, 12 November 2007

TorontoTheBetter Businesses Participate in Conversation about Worker Co-operatives

A CONVERSATION ABOUT WORKER CO-OPERATIVES
'A Potential Toronto' wrap party immediately afterwards, with DJs
Dorian and Dorian.


Thursday, 15 November 2007; 7:30 - 9:30pm
Toronto Free Gallery; 660 Queen St. East
(west of Broadview and east of the Don Valley Parkway)


Music, cereal, a vibrator, a website, and a cup of coffee: these are
just a few essentials that can be bought in Toronto at a worker
co-operative - a worker-owned and democratically controlled
organization that makes or sells a good or service. Supporting a
worker co-op is supporting an alternative economy.

What worker co-ops exist in Toronto? How are worker co-ops different
from traditional workplaces? To what extent does this alternative
business model escape, subvert, or resist capitalist conventions of
competition, hierarchy, and growth? What potentials do worker co-ops
offer as an alternative way to reorganize work life?

Join us for a conversation guided by these questions. J.J. McMurtry,
a social theorist with an interest in co-operativism, will open the
conversation. Participating, will be guests from The Big Carrot, Come
As You Are
, Blocks Recording Club, Anarres, and Planet Bean.

We invite anyone involved in or curious about the local co-op
movement and alternative ways of organizing working life, to join us
to talk about their experience, community, challenges and hopes
regarding workers' co-operatives as alternative economies - and how
it might fit into a potential Toronto.

Initiated by Toronto School of Creativity & Inquiry (TSCI)
More info:
Website: http://www.tsci.ca
Email: mailto:tscinquiry@gmail.com

Friday, 9 November 2007

Through the Eyes of Diversity: Reproductive and Sexual Health in Canada (forum and informaton fair with TorontoTheBetter door prizes)

We invite you and friends to join Canadians for Choice for an in-depth forum and information fair on how diversity influences access to sexual health services:


When: Saturday, 24 November 2007; 1-5 PM

Where: University of Toronto, Medical Sciences Building, ROOM 2158
1 King's College Circle; Toronto, ON


We would also like to thank Come As You Are, Good For Her and Toronto Women's Bookstore for providing door prizes.

For more details, visit the rabble.ca post about the event.

Tuesday, 6 November 2007

Fourteen Songs about Sex and Human Dignity by newest TorontoTheBetter member

Welcome to TorontoTheBetter's newest member - The Parkdale Revolutionary Orchestra - hope it's not too late to mention their next performance:


The Parkdale Revolutionary Orchestra
Thursday November 8 @ Clinton's (693 Bloor St. West)
9:00 p.m.
$8 / $5

Fourteen songs about sex and human dignity.

Original deviant lieder and derangements of music by Brian Eno, New Order, Kurt Weill, Wire, as well as new interpretations of profound musical obscurities. Aggressive minimalism at its finest, performed with flair by Toronto's most adventurous musical anomaly.

The very special opening act for this performance will be the remarkable Marco DeFelice (voice, guitar, piano, percussion via loop pedals).

How do you get there? Clinton's is a block east of Christie Station on the TTC, on the south side of Bloor St.


Visit their site for the map and/or other upcoming performances.

Regent Park Film Festival & Urban Health Seminar

Two events this week that may be of interest:


Regent Park 5th Annual Film Festival Launch

Wednesday, November 7, 2007; 5:00 pm
Nelson Mandela Public school, 440 Shuter St.

For more info:
director@regentparkfilmfestival.com; www.regentparkfilmfestival.com

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CUHI Spotlight on Urban Health Seminar Series: "Community-Based Participatory Research using Arts: Homeless Women, Housing and Social Support"

Thursday, November 8, 2007; 1:15 pm - 2:45 pm
Bahen Centre, University of Toronto: 40 St. George Street, Room B024

RSVP: cuhi.admin@utoronto.ca

Thursday, 1 November 2007

The Gap faces challenges living up to its ethical image

According to an October 28th, 2007 Observer article by Dan McDougall, Child sweatshop shame threatens Gap's ethical image and may cause a withdrawal of clothing ordered for Christmas:


"an undercover Observer investigation in the back streets of New Delhi, reveal a tragic consequence of the West's demand for cheap clothing. It exposes how, despite Gap's rigorous social audit systems launched in 2004 to weed out child labour in its production processes, the system is being abused by unscrupulous subcontractors. The result is that children, in this case working in conditions close to slavery, appear to still be making some of its clothes."