Sunday, 28 December 2008

Ring In the New Year with Sandra Itenson Sweetman @ Toronto Sprouts & Support The Paradigm Shift Project

A last minute reminder and information update from Toronto Sprouts:

The early bird deadline has been extended to Mon Dec 29th! This fundraiser event is $95 cash only at the door, or only $70 in advance via using your credit card or banking info - to pay via PayPal, click on Send Money Online and reference Sandra's email address sandra[AT]mydivineblueprint[DOT]com - it's quite simple to use!

• Watch the links for ongoing updates to the list of great raffle prizes donated by awesome Toronto area businesses in support of this event!

• A note on the food being served at this event: Sandra confirmed there will be some vegetarian, and raw vegan options, among the snacks, as well as other options. (Note these are snacks, a full dinner is not being served. :)

~ * ~

Are you looking for a different way to welcome in 2009 than you may have experienced in past years? Would you like to receive guidance and insights to help set the right intention for the new year? How about celebrating the new year with like-minded kindred spirits while helping to support a worthy cause?

You are invited to join the New Years Celebration Party hosted by Sandra Itenson Sweetman at Toronto Sprouts at 720 Bathurst St. south of Bloor on December 31. This event is both a celebration party and a fundraiser in support of The Paradigm Shift Project. Read below to find out what's in store for the evening.


Sandra Itenson Sweetman will lead a meditation to welcome in the New Year and offer tips on how setting the right intention can make New Year's Resolutions a powerful tool. Learn what to expect for 2009 and how you can make this your most fulfilling year yet! To learn more about Sandra, visit


Raffle ticket included in admission price. Great prizes to be won to support a great cause!

The Paradigm Shift Project works to create sustainable change in the way the world effects global development through grassroots documentary films of real local needs assessments. We'll be screening their first film on rice cultivation in Indonesia, and we've got lots of great prizes to be won in our awesome raffle! For more info, visit

This particular event is to raise funds for their upcoming project in Peru, which will help women speak out on the need for community kitchens and urban agriculture to address the issue of malnutrition in their communities.


Champagne is included in admission price to welcome in the new year!

To register for this event, please email Sandra at - sandra[AT]mydivineblueprint[DOT]com.

For more information, please check out:

The event details online, off Facebook (the first link has ongoing updates) -

The blog -

To learn about Sandra, for testimonials, and more, you are invited to visit and join the Facebook group for My Divine Blueprint -

Also you are invited to check out & join the Toronto Sprouts Facebook group -

Sandra's next events include the two-day Light Language I & II intensive in January 2009

- please see the links here, and/or the My Divine Blueprint Facebook group for event details.

We'd love to see whoever happens to be able to make it there - and if you have a friend who will be in the city, please share - extend the invitation to those who you feel may find it of interest.

Thank you, and enjoy.

Friday, 12 December 2008

Migrant Farm Workers and Supporters speak out about Layoffs, Evictions and Deportations

Earlier this week, farm workers, trade unions,advocacy groups and academics spoke about the more than 70
Mexican and Jamaican agriculture workers at a mushroom grow house who were fired without notice on December
6, by Rol-Land Farms, a $50 million-a-year, privately owned industrial agricultural corporation that operates a number of mushroom growing operations across Canada.

See the United Food and Commerical Workers Canada report, Fired foreign agriculture workers at Rol-Land Farms speak out, for a video of the conference and Better Farming report, Mushroom workers to tell their story, for updates.

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Toronto Rally for a Progressive Coalition


Saturday, December 6, 2008

12:00 noon

Toronto City Hall, Nathan Phillips Square

Bring Canadian flags and placards supporting jobs and justice!

Across Canada, people will be taking to the streets this week to demand the replacement of the illegitimate Harper government with a coalition that will make its first priority tackling the growing economic crisis. Starting in Ottawa on Thursday, rallies will be held in twelve major cities to express the will of the people for change.

It is expected that the Conservatives will utilize every dirty trick possible to cling to power, and they too are organizing rallies this Saturday. They will also be whipping up anti-Quebec prejudice and using talk shows, right wing newspapers, and their immense data base to sway public opinion.

We are in an unprecedented period of Canadian history. The Stephen Harper wrecking crew inherited from the Mike Harris days – Jim Flaherty, Tony Clement, John Baird and Guy Giorno – were willing to turn their backs on those losing jobs or pensions. The true Stephen Harper emerged, cynically attempting to impose a hard-right agenda of dismantling the public sector, attacking worker rights and women's equality, and hoping to cripple the opposition parties.

We need a coalition government that will address the economic crisis – including saving jobs, investing in infrastructure and a green economy, restoring EI, protecting pensions and respecting our cultural sector.

For up to the minute details, go to To connect to facebook, look up Rally for A Progressive Coalition.

Squirm Premiere at 3rd annual Green Reel Environmental Film Festival

We're rolling out the 'Green' carpet for you to come and enjoy two days of award winning and celebrated environmental films including the world premiere of "Squirm" - The Cathy's Crawly Composters story. Green market place, information kiosks, activities and refreshments. Cathy's Crawly Composters will have a booth at the theatre demonstrating the environmental benefits of the worms.
For more info, Phone: 905-326-SHOW(7469), or e-mail:

*Now Available: 2009 Schedule

Thursday, 27 November 2008

GET Sponsors first annual Buy Local Week, Dec. 1-7, 2008

GET(Green Enterprise Toronto) - along with TABIA(Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas) and NaberNET - is sponsoring Toronto's first annual Buy Local Week:


“Some people think that local just means location, like the big box down the street,” says Chris Lowry, director of a local, sustainable business network called Green Enterprise Toronto (GET). “But local is really all about local ownership that helps to keep regional economies strong.”

“We encourage Toronto residents to support their local BIAs by shopping locally. By supporting our main streets, we maintain strong & viable communities. says John Kiru, Executive Director of TABIA, the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas. TABIA consists of 68 Business Improvement Areas (BIAs) representing more that 27,000 business and property owners.

“The Local First movement is catching on like wildfire in communities across North America, and now we are introducing it to Toronto consumers and retailers,” explains Lowry. “More and more people understand that supporting independent businesses is essentially voting with your dollars for a healthy local economy.“

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Ten Thousand Villages Christmas Festival, Nov. 28-30, 2008

Ten Thousand Villages Toronto is having a Christmas Festival at Harbourfront Centre this Friday, November 28th to Sunday, November 30th:

Ten Thousand Villages Christmas Festival
Brigantine Room, Harbourfront Centre
235 Queens Quay W

Friday November 28, 6pm-10pm
Saturday November 29, 10am-6pm
Sunday November 30, 12noon-5pm

A Fair Trade Christmas festival featuring works from over 130 artisan groups in more than 35 countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

Purchase personal and home accessories, carpets, Christmas décor, games, toys, coffee and food, while soaking in the sights and sounds of Christmas. As one of the world's oldest and largest Fair Trade organizations, Ten Thousand Villages builds long-term relationships with artisans based on mutual understanding and respect. This year, give twice with a Fair Trade Christmas.

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Book Talk for The Human Powered Home

Fertile Ground Bookstore is hosting Tamara Dean talking about her new book The Human Powered Home:

Date: Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Time: 7:00pm - 9:00pm
Location: Bahen Information Centre, Room 1170, UofT
Street: 40 St George Street
City/Town: Toronto, ON

See The Human Powered Home Facebook event for more information.

Thursday, 13 November 2008

6 events at Toronto Sprouts, November 22nd to December 31st.

Six upcoming events from Toronto Sprouts:

- Saturday November 22, 2008 & Sunday November 23, 2008:
Science of Raw Food Nutrition™ I, with The Raw Food Doctors™ Rick & Karin Dina

This 2-day comprehensive course takes you deeper into the scientific basis for raw food nutrition. This course will provide answers to common questions about raw food, vegan, vegetarian and plant-based diets and is presented in a fun and easy to understand format. There is no prerequisite for this class - the course content builds upon topics covered in Introduction to Raw Food Nutrition™ and much more. Tuition: $375 USD.

- Tuesday November 25, 2008:
The Raw Food Revolution with Cherie Soria

Cherie Soria, Director of Living Light Culinary Arts Institute will offer talks about the Raw Food Revolution. She will cover topics from her new book, The Raw Food Revolution Diet: Feast, Lose Weight, Gain Energy, Feel Younger and share tips about how to achieve permanent weight loss, make great tasting healthy food, save time in the kitchen, eat raw on the go, and get the nutrients your body needs. There will also be a culinary demonstration that will show how to create flavour, texture, and appearance that mimics cooked food, but tastes even better! 7pm-9pm. $20 at the door.

- Sunday November 30, 2008:
FUNdamentals of Raw Living Foods™ with Cherie Soria and Martine Lussier

Take advantage of this opportunity to take Living Light's entry-level class as a one-day intensive workshop. Superb culinary presentations will show you everything you need to know to create a wide variety of delicious, easy-to-prepare raw recipes. No prerequisites are required. This class is open to participants of any skill level, novice to professional. 8:30am - 5:30pm. Tuition: $325 USD.

- Thursday November 27, 2008:
Learn to Sprout from the Pros

For information or to sign-up, call Trefor at 416.535.3111 or email: Cost: $35.00 each or admit 2 for $60.00. Preregistration is required.

- Saturday December 6, 2008:
Winter Market @ Toronto Sprouts

The greenest place to shop for the holidays! 10am – 6pm. Admission is free!
A variety of local vendors will be coming to Toronto Sprouts for this one day so you can access them all in one place. Great deals to be had by all! They will be selling products like raw foods, chocolate, eco-conscious clothing, jewellery, music, essential oils, scarves & hats, artwork, and much more!

- NEW YEAR'S EVE Benefit:
A New Year's Eve Meditation and Celebration with Sandra Itenson Sweetman of
A fundraiser for 8:30pm – 12:00 midnight.

The evening starts with folks arriving ~ 8:30pm, a meditation / channelling from 9-11pm, then raffles, etc., and lots of yummy food!

Monday, 10 November 2008

November News

November is one of those months where I don’t have much to get excited about. This November, I’ve got something to get very excited about...I’m going on vacation! I’ll be leaving the evening of November 19th returning November 30th. Where will I be going? We’ll that’s a story in itself. To read more visit:


Getting Kids Active and Well Nourished
Tuesday December 2nd
Whole Foods Market –87 Avenue Road

Children are increasingly less active and nourished and child obesity rates are rising. Interested in doing something about it? Come network with others who are passionate about getting Canadian children healthy and fit. For the schedule and more info visit:

Whole Foods Cooking Class: Snacking to Lose Weight and Keep Energized!
Please note date change: Tuesday, January 27th
$15 (receive a $5 Whole Foods gift card)

This upcoming session will have a dish to please everyone because snacking is such a broad theme. Since snacking happens as frequently as meals (about three a day) you might as well make it a treat every time! These recipes will be between 100-300 calories. To read more:

Strength Training for Winter Bicycling
Saturday December 13th

Thinking about bicycling through the winter? Whether you’re an all season cyclist or want to learn some strength training exercises, join us at a The Yoga House, located in the Woodbine and Danforth neighbourhood. RSVP for address. Please note this will be filmed for a documentary on winter cyclists. For more information on the film visit:

Holiday Gift Ideas: Whole Self Fitness Gift Certificates

This holiday season why not give the gift of health while supporting an ethical, small business?

$15 Gift Card as Stocking Stuffers:
Whole Self Fitness cooking classes at Whole Foods Market
Admission to workshops/group classes

Gift certificates for $70 plus can get:
A healthy cooking demonstration in your own home
Personal Training packages
A nutritional and diet consultation
And much more!

Gift certificates are for Toronto residents only.


Thank you to those who filled the on-line survey. If you’ve read this far and haven’t filled the survey to give me information on how Whole Self Fitness can better serve you, please do. If you choose, you can be entered into a draw to win a pair of tickets to the next Whole Foods class! Link to survey:

Enjoy the rest of November...I know I will!

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Summit on November 22nd: Good Jobs For All for a Greater Toronto

The Good Jobs Coalition, an alliance of community, labour, social justice, youth and environmental organizations in the Toronto region, is hosting Good Jobs For All for a Greater Toronto, one part of a long-term effort to tackle the pressing issues of social equity and economic justice in the 21st century:

Good Jobs for All for a Greater Toronto
November 22, 2008, 9:00am - 5:00pm
Metro Convention Center, 255 Front St, Toronto
Registration: $50 (includes lunch) Fee waved for students, community activists and unwaged

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Bazant on MSN

Bazant is the only Canadian jewellery designer to be featured in this
MSN eco-fashion article.

Thursday, 9 October 2008

4th Annual TorontoTheBetter Movie Series starts October 21st

The 2008-09 4th Annual TorontoTheBetter Movie Series starts in just under two weeks:

TorontotheBetter & Students on Seven (SOS)
PWYC Film presentation

Who killed the electric car?
Tues. Oct 21 8.30-10.30pm
Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE/UT)
252 Bloor St. W. (St. George Stn)
Rm 5-262
Q&A after the film

Co-sponsors: Bazant Unique Adornments, Libra

Sunday, 5 October 2008

7 October: World Day for Decent Work

World Day for Decent Work and other notices from this week's LabourStart email mailing list:


On October 7 2008 the trade union movement is organising a World Day for Decent
Work. This is an unparalleled opportunity for trade unions and organisations
interested in Decent Work all around the world to join a broad global
mobilisation involving a large number of people and a wide range of activities.
Full details are here:



The ITUC has reported death threats made against Eberto Díaz, the general
secretary of the agricultural workers union -- full details are here:

The UK-based Justice for Colombia has more details and suggestions for action:



Free web services like Facebook, Flickr, YouTube, and Second Life are tempting
some unions to "outsource" some online activities. Is this a good idea? Check
out my recent column "Remember Twitter" -- and feel free to add your comments:



Britain's Trades Union Congress has launched an informal blog by staff "about
policy issues that are in the news, or ought to be". It's well worth a look:

Meanwhile, South Africa's COSATU has begun publishing a blog aimed at users of
cellphones. This is particularly important in a region of the world where the
number of cellphone users is far greater than those who own or use computers.
You can see the COSATU miniblog here:



As we focus on the world-wide struggle for decent work next week, the
publication of a new book reminding us that child labour is nothing new -- and
can be resisted -- is timely. "Kids on Strike!" tells the story of children
who stood up for their rights and organized in the garment industries of New
York, Chicago, and Philadelphia and the cotton mills of New England. The books
tells the stories of the messenger, bootblack and newsies strikes in New York
City and includes more than 100 photos. This is LabourStart's book of the week
-- by purchasing copies from our unionized bookseller you are supporting our
campaigning activities:

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Labour Education Centre events, October 25th to November 2nd

More events from the Labour Education Centre:

Toronto Labour History: 1870s to 1970s:

November 1 & 2, 2008

Saturday, November 1, 2008
8:30 am -- 9:00 am Registration
9:00 am -- 4:30 pm Classes

Sunday, November 2, 2008
9:30 am -- 12:30 pm Classes

Labour History: 1870s ? 1970s
Explore a century of labour struggles in Toronto in this two day course. Labour
activist David Kidd will lead a Labour History Walking Tour in downtown Toronto
(1? hours). Special guest speakers will share stories from labour?s past.

LEC-CLC Weekend School:

Saturday, October 25, 9:30-4:30
Downtown location
Saturday, November 1, 9:00-4:30
OFL building, 15 Gervais Dr.

Migrant Workers in a Global Economy
Global migration poses challenges: for those who migrate, for the source countries,
and the host countries. Migration impacts the economy, our communities, and
the labour movement. Global migration is also the result of changes in the global
economy brought about by trade, investment, and labour policies. How have we
responded to the reality of global migration? How do we relate to the migrant
workers movement? What are the possibilities and challenges of collaboration
between labour and migrant workers movements? Learn more about these issues
and various strategies for coalition building.

Popular Education: Theory and Practice
Various movements for social change ? around the rights of workers, women, poor
people, peasants, people of colour ? were built on the principles and practice of
popular education, first in the global south and later in North America. This course
will be a practicum and clinic to further develop your ability to integrate analysis
and action not only to win campaigns but also to build community, capacity, and
critical consciousness among those you work with.

Women, Work and Power
Diverse groups of women make vital contributions to Canada?s society, labour
force, trade unions and social movements. Explore equity issues faced by women
in the workplace, feminization of poverty, precarious women workers, work-life
balance. Share experiences and strategies for change.

Stewards Training
This course will provide opportunities for Stewards to develop new and
proactive strategies to handle workplace issues, increase communication
with the membership and connect issues between the workplace and the
community. Building on the basic roles and responsibilities of Stewards, the
course will address ways to reach beyond the apathy and increase member
support and involvement through the grievance procedure and during the
collective bargaining process.

Collective Bargaining I
In preparation for bargaining, you must understand the legal and economic
factors affecting negotiations. The function of the bargaining committee, its
size and work in setting demands are part of your role. Course includes an
introduction to costing and COLA.

Arbitration I
The first step of the arbitration process will be covered; grievance investigation
and preparation for hearing; legal framework of arbitration; order of
proceeding; preliminary objections; and opening statements.

Union Action and Climate Change
Climate change is happening and its impact on all of us is growing. Droughts,
hurricanes, floods, blizzards, ice storms and tornados are all examples of the
severe consequences of our changing climate. If we don?t take action to stop it,
it is going to damage the world we live in and alter the way of life we now take
for granted.

In this course participants will learn about climate change, its causes, impacts
and mitigating solutions. They will also learn about the actions unions have
taken to address climate change and the actions they can take at home,
workplace and the community at large to tackle climate change.

Health and Safety Level I
To protect our membership we must know our rights in the contract and in
legislation. This course discusses union involvement in identification and
correction of workplace hazards, noise, legislation and principles of control.

Clear Language
This workshop will make the written word work with us and make our
communications reader friendly. There will be lots of hands-on practice.

Monday, 29 September 2008

Globalization, Union Renewal and the Fight for Social Justice: October 3, 2008 Forum

The Labour Education Centre invites you to participate in what promises to be one of the most exciting forums of the year-
”Globalization, Union Renewal and the Fight for Social Justice”.

DATE: Friday, October 3rd, 2008
TIME: 9 AM – 4 PM (book signing to follow)
LOCATION: Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE), Main Auditorium
252 Bloor Street West, Toronto (near St. George subway station)

Bill Fletcher, Co-author of “Solidarity Divided: The Crisis in Organized
Labour and a New Path Towards Social Justice” will be our special guest

Fletcher has been a life-long activist, dating back to his involvement in
the shutdown of his Mount Vernon, NY high school in May, 1970 to protest
the Vietnam War. He began his life of union activism working as a welder
at the Quincy, Massachusetts shipyards. He later went on to work for
the UAW, the Mail Handlers Union and the SEIU. He eventually held a
number of senior positions at the AFL-CIO.

Fletcher is also a former director of the “Trans Africa Forum”.

In the afternoon there will be workshops on a number of topics of interest
to labour and community/social activists.

You can download the (.pdf) flyer/registration form at this link:

Sunday, 28 September 2008

Global Food Equity - Toronto events 2008-2009

From September 2008 to April 2009, a full year of food security events, including Community Kitchens, $5 lunches and speakers - all in downtown Toronto. Organized by the Toronto Food Policy Council, Meal Exchange, and the Centre for Community partnerships. For details see

Sunday, 21 September 2008

"Stuffed and Starved: Markets, Choice and the Battle for the World's Food System" - Sept.25th Presentation

Former World Bank employee Raj Patel, author of "Stuffed and Starved: Markets, Choice and the Battle for the World's Food System" speaks at 45 Willcocks St. [Harbord and Spadina], Toronto on Thursday, Sept. 25th, 2008 about what's wrong with the world food system and how we can make it better. This presentation is part of the Global Food Equity Speaker Series.

Go to for details.

Saturday, 20 September 2008

Flying Cloud's "Back to Bohemian Embassy" filmed for SUN-TV, Sep 21

This will be a very special night where we present "Back to the Bohemian Embassy" hosted by Don Cullen. Joanne Crabtree will perform with Jeff Morrison on guitar along with famous blues artist, Chick Roberts. On this night we will introduce newcomer, Amy Pitt. Guaranteed you are going to remember this very talented young lady! Get your best duds on boys & girls cuz this concert is being filmed for a documentary on Don Cullen and the Bohemian Embassy for SUN-TV.

Flying Cloud Folk Club
292 Brunswick Avenue
Toronto, ON
416.410.FOLK (3655)

door 7:00 pm, concert 7:30 - 10:30 pm
General admission $20, members, seniors & students $18

Don Cullen is well known in Toronto as a man dedicated to the arts. As the founder of one of the first coffee houses in Toronto, The Bohemian Embassy, which opened in 1960, he introduced the city to artists and authors from Ian Tyson to Margaret Atwood. Don possesses a wicked wit and has written for radio and television, including a long stint with Wayne and Schuster; he has performed in various theater revues, has been the artistic Co-Director of the Leacock Humour Festival and is currently a member of the Board of Advisors for the Mariposa Folk Festival.

Amy Pitt possesses the ability to blur the all borders separating the classic genres of music with a wide range of influences from soul, pop, rock, jazz and folk. Through her love for a diverse group of musical styles, she legitimately understands the artistry behind music and songwriting. There's no question her soulful voice commands attention, but she also has the ability to channel and express raw emotion while performing which is essentially what fans know and love her for. Born and raised in Sarnia, Ontario, a small city on the Canadian/U.S border, Amy got her first introduction to performance through local community theater groups and Royal Conservatory music lessons, which she started at eight years old. Pitt is schooled in jazz/contemporary music as last winter marked her last semester at Humber College where she has been studying with some of the world's best musicians. In her budding career she has already performed with great Canadian and International artists including Tanglefoot, Dave Broadfoot and Jacob Hoggart, and spent the summer in 2007 in St Jacobs and Grand Bend Ontario performing among a brilliant cast in the widely popular and sold out show LEGENDS with Drayton Entertainment. Over the years, Amy has been writing some beautiful music and as she is now busy recording her debut album. Recording started in January and is due for release when it's done! To stay updated with Amy's show schedule and for any other news, visit her at

Joanne Crabtree has this to say: Even though I was born on Ilkla Moor (without a hat, I'm told), and even though my father was a Yorkshireman who sang me Widdicombe Fair while I was still a babe in arms, my artistic roots took hold in the poetry-filled coffee houses, the after-hours jazz clubs, the earnest folk venues of Toronto in the late fifties and early sixties. I found my true creative home at The Bohemian Embassy. Don Cullen hired me to play the 9 to 12 spot every Tuesday night for quite awhile. My career as a solo folk singer began to take off in 1961 when the Embassy got me my first "outside" gig - a Grey Cup party at Toronto's Park Plaza Hotel. I got paid fifty smackers and I was on my way. So you see, Don Cullen was an important and beloved figure in my life, even if he doesn't always remember me all that well nowadays. Don was kind and so was his club. Don was really funny, and so was his Village Revue. Don is a firebrand these days, a social activist - and yet still really really funny. Please do a monologue tonight Don, please. - Joanne

Chick Roberts is a veteran of theatre, film and the Canadian music scene. Born Evan Hugh Roberts, and raised by Welsh parents in Toronto's Cabbagetown, Chick Roberts received his earliest musical training singing in choirs such as the Toronto Welsh Male Choir. He was first bitten by the blues as a teenager, when he proudly purchased his first '78, "How Long,How Long Blues." He then went on to sing with a show band performing imitations of Louis Armstrong, Jimmy Rushing, Billy Eckstine, Wynonie Harris and Frankie Laine, to name a few.
In 1956, Chick moved to England to build on the amateur drama and performance training he began in Toronto. However, he was soon sidetracked by movie and television acting jobs, among the first, a role in Charlie Chaplin's "A King in New York." He moved on to form one half of a comedy duo appearing on WelshTV and performed as an emcee and comedian before returning to North America to resume his musical career.

In the early 60s, with his newly minted stage name in hand, Chick Roberts performed around Canada & the USA as a solo folk artist, and with Amos Garrett, Jim McCarthy and Carol Robinson as The Dirty Shames. Primarily a Jug/String Band, they performed an eclectic variety of songs from the country, blues, jazz and pop repertoires.
In 1965 The Dirty Shames moved to New York to perform and they cut several records on the Phillips label (sadly, never released in Canada). Following Jim McCarthy's departure, the Shames enlarged the band by adding Bass, Piano and drums and became the regular house band at Andy Warhol's club "The Dom" and the opening act for The Velvet Underground at the "The Gymnasium."

In 1968, the Shames disbanded and Chick Roberts returned to Canada. A devoted member of the folk music community, he became one of the organizers of the Mariposa Folk Festival and helped start Mariposa In The Schools (MITS). For twenty five years, he used his talents as a raconteur, singer, guitarist, and all-around crowd pleaser to tour schools, libraries and festivals, and bring Jug Band and Blues workshops to children across Ontario. His performances can be heard on all three albums produced by MITS.

Ever adapting his musical style, Chick Roberts continued to perform blues, country and rock from 1970 onward with the Blues Collar Band. As venues and audiences for their music evolved so did they evolve their material, introducing swing and jazz to their blues sound and changing the band name to "The Lowdown Ways Band."

So it came to pass, that when the opportunity arose to record a CD with his long time musical cohort, Tony Quarrington, they decided to draw material from their blues and jazz repertoire. The resulting record, Blue Turning Gray, pays homage to Chick's vocal idols, and tips its hat to longtime musical accomplices and new friends.

Friday, 19 September 2008

Rally on Monday the 22nd


Rally at Federal Court of Canada
Monday, September 22, 2008
9am sharp!
180 Queen Street West1 Block West of University, North Side of Queen Subway: Osgoode

On Monday, the Federal Court will hear why Jeremy Hinzman should have his deportation date delayed. This would give the Court time to consider whether to hear Jeremy's appeal against the decision to deport him and his family to the US.

On Monday morning join us at the Federal Court in solidarity with Jeremy Hinzman, Nga Nguyen and their two children, Liam and Meghan. Show your support for a stay of removal.

Demand to know why the Harper government wants to deport courageous Iraq war resisters back to U.S. where they face imprisonment and a criminal record for opposing the war in Iraq. Please bring placards and banners, and your friends. This is the time to show your support for the growing number of U.S. war resisters in Canada. Let’s not allow Stephen Harper to make Canada the enforcement arm of the Bush White House.

Jeremy's YouTube appeal to Harper:

War Resisters Support CampaignPhone: 416.598.1222E-mail: resisters@sympatico.caWeb:

Sunday, 7 September 2008

GET sponsors Climate-Energy Challenge event

On Tuesday after work (5:30-7), please come to the Centre for Social Innovation for this excellent event. If you have not yet visited the home of Green Enterprise Toronto in the remarkable Robertson Building, take this opportunity to visit and rub shoulders with others in the GET network and the wider community of green interest.

We're just north of Queen on the east side of Spadina.

Thomas Homer-Dixon on The Climate-Energy Challenge:

How It Will Change Our Economy and Society?

Tuesday, September 9, 2008
5:30 PM - 7:00 PM
$15 with pre-registration
215 Spadina Ave., Ground Floor Boardroom, Toronto
Co-sponsored by GET and the Sustainability Network

A consensus is emerging among climate scientists that the world needs to move to as quickly as possible to zero carbon emissions. The rate of ramp down to zero will depend, in large part, on the perceived urgency of the climate crisis. Steeper rates of decline will require more unconventional (and perhaps innovative) technologies and institutions and likely more state intervention in economies to mobilize human and financial capital.
Dr. Thomas Homer Dixon holds the Centre for International Governance Innovation Chair of Global Systems at the Balsillie School of International Affairs in Waterloo, Canada, and is a Professor in the Centre for Environment and Business in the Faculty of Environment, University of Waterloo.

Admission is $15, seating is limited, and pre-registration is required. To reserve and buy tickets online in advance visit To reserve tickets and pay at the door, email Luella at with your name and affiliation. Space permitting, walk-ins are welcome.

Reverse Trick or Treating for Halloween

Participate in Reverse Trick-or-Treating On Halloween night, schoolchildren, (& high school/college students, and adults) across the US and Canada will unite to:
* END poverty among cocoa farmers* END abusive child labor in the cocoa industry
* PROMOTE Fair Trade
* PROTECT the environmentby giving Fair Trade chocolate back to adults...
while Trick-or-Treating door-to-door in their communities on Halloween.
The chocolate is attached to a card with information about social and environmental justice issues in the cocoa industry and how buying Fair Trade certified chocolate provides a solution.Costumes optional... having fun while making a difference guaranteed!Parents of last year's youngest participants raved about how Reverse Trick-or-Treating transforms Halloween into a meaningful event when youth activists give back to their neighbors and to cocoa growing communities.Reverse Trick-or-Treating kits are FREE

Thanks to the generous donations of Fair Trade chocolate companies-Equal Exchange, Alter Eco, Theo Chocolates, and La Siembra (in Canada) (Participants pay the cost of postage only.)Participate as an individual or organize your classroom, school, congregation, youth group or social justice organization to participate by distributing multiple kits to participants!DEADLINE

- Groups (schools, congregations, youth groups, etc): October 1- Individuals: October 13- Order yours TODAY! Last year, we ran out before the deadline!Join us, and together, we will reach nearly a quarter million households this year!Visit for more information!If you choose not to request a kit, you can still participate by distributing flyers on Halloween! Visit the website for more information.Willing to volunteer to be trailed by a print, radio, or television reporter while Reverse Trick-or-Treating? Send an email to the contact in the email you received or, with RTT media volunteer in the subject line.Looking for Fair Trade Halloween candy to distribute to kids at your door? Visit Trick-or-Treating is an initiative of Global Exchange and is a collaborative effort of countless children, youth, and adults supported by nonprofit organizations including Americans for Informed Democracy, Coop America, International Labor Rights Forum, Slow Food, Unitarian Universalist Service Committee and many others.Reverse Trick-or-Treating is part of Sweet Smarts, Global Exchange's national network of kids, parents and teachers whose simple, creative actions to educate and advocate for Fair Trade certified products transform communities and corporations to support small farmers' efforts to build a better future for their families.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Saturday, 6 September 2008

Free Documentary at Revue Cinema

Join The War Resisters Support Campaign for a Free Showing of
Breaking Ranks: A Documentary about US Iraq War Resisters in Canada Produced and Directed by Michelle Mason

Speaker: War Resister Jeremy Hinzman
Jeremy and his wife, Nga Nguyen and their two children, Liam (6) and Meghan (6 weeks) are currently under orders to leave Canada by September 23. Jeremy and his family face severe punishment if they return to the US.

DATE: Wednesday, September 10, 2008
TIME: 7:00 PM
PLACE: Revue Cinema, 400 Roncesvalles Avenue

This event is jointly sponsored by:
Peggy Nash, M.P. (Parkdale -- NDP)
and the War Resisters Support Campaign (

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Toronto Wobblies support Kristin Schwartz

The Toronto branch of the IWW (Industrial Workers of the World, aka Wobblies) has come on board in support of Kristin Schwartz in her recent firing by CKLN.

Here's the text of the recent letter:

August 31, 2008

Subject: Rehire Kristin Schwartz immediately

CKLN Board Members,

We of the Toronto Branch of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW)
union demand the immediate reinstatement of CKLN news director Kirstin
Schwartz, and the payment to her of lost wages. It is outrageous that
you would choose to fire Kirstin during contract negotiations, such
behaviour on your part constitutes union-busting -illegally
interfering with the right of workers to freely join a labour
organization and engage in collective bargaining. This is certainly a
hypocritical act from an organization that prides itself as serving as
a progressive voice in Toronto. It is thanks in great measure to
programmers like Kirstin, that CKLN has been known for its innovative
journalism over the past years, willing to cover the stories and
perspectives that the mainstream corporate media often chooses to

The Toronto Branch of the IWW will be giving our full support to
Kirstin Schwartz to regain her job at CKLN. We also intend to widely
circulate news of this conflict, so that more organizations will be
aware of the oppressive, anti-worker and illegal behaviour of the CKLN
Board of Directors.


The Toronto General Membership Branch of
the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW)

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

MSN is hiring...

The Maquila Solidarity Network is looking for a Communications Coordinator and a Policy Analyst to join our team. Deadlines are September 26 and October 3. See here for details.

Saturday, 30 August 2008

MSN Appeal Re: firing of Thai Union leader

From the August 27, 2008 Maquila Solidarity Network story and appeal:

"On July 30, 2008, a Thai subsidiary of Triumph International, one of the world’s largest makers of intimate apparel, fired union president Jitra Kotchadej for wearing an unfashionable t-shirt.

She wasn’t wearing the t-shirt at work, and it wasn’t the colour or the design of the t-shirt that caused offence. It was the message on the shirt: ‘Those who do not stand are not criminals. Thinking differently is not a crime’ -- a reference to the right of people not to stand when the Thai royal anthem is played and to the abuse of Thailand’s lèse-majesté legislation to suppress political opposition.

Ms. Kotchadej was participating in a late night TV debate on women’s reproductive rights. Despite the fact that she was speaking in her private time and not in her capacity as a union leader or worker at Triumph’s Body Fashion (Thailand) Ltd. Factory, she was fired. Since then, 3,000 of her co-workers have walked out of the factory in a show of solidarity, demanding the reinstatement of their union president."

See Support Thai women workers: stop Triumph’s union busting for more information and to send a letter of concern regarding the dismissal of Jitra Kotchadej.

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Vegetarian Cooking Workshop - Eat Local, Eat Fresh

Vegetarian Cooking Class at Whole Foods Market-Yorkville
Eat Local, Eat Fresh
Saturday, September 20th
11:00am-12:30pm $15 (receive a $5 Whole Foods gift card)

Not only does eating local produce support Ontario farmers and decrease food miles, it's more nutritious and tastes delicious! Leehe from Whole Self Fitness will cook up a diverse selection of local produce of the season. Participate, learn and share cooking tips. Leave some room for savouring, there's always lots of food to be enjoyed! Pre-registration is required. Call 416-944-0500 or visit the store at 87 Avenue Rd.

Monday, 25 August 2008

CLC requests input re: Annual Report of Trade union Violations

A message from the Canadian Labour Congress:

We are in the process of updating the information concerning Canada in the
International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) Annual Report of Trade Union Violations.

This important annual report is the source for much of the evidence used by
trade unions worldwide and at the International Labour Organization's Annual Conferences.

In the case of Canada, it provides information on federal as well as
provincial and territorial legislation.

You can access the report covering the year 2006 in English here.

We would appreciate if you could quickly review the 2006 report as well as the guidelines
attached (which give some sample paragraphs), and provide us with your updates, comments, etc.
for the year 2007 as a matter of urgency.

We appreciate your assistance, and please don't hesitate to contact us if you have any questions
(W: 1-613-526-7433)

Sunday, 24 August 2008

Recent feature on Freeganism

In The Cure for Consumania, a recent feature from REAP: Respect for the Earth and All People, Craig Copeland comments on recent coverage of dumpster diving by freegans for food...

"None of the reports, however, delved beyond wasted food in their attempt to explain freegan behaviour. As a result, they failed to give freeganism credit for being a deeply compelling movement. What the TV reporters overlooked is essential to understanding these peaceful subversives:

- The term “freegan” is a marriage of “free” and “vegan.”...

- Instead of boycotting one bad company only to support another, Freegans try to purchase nothing at all...

- Born of the antiglobalization and environmentalist movements, freeganism blossomed in the mid 1990s...

- Freegans argue that land and commodities are now valued only according to their capacity to generate profit...

- Dumpster diving, also called “urban foraging,” is freegans’ trademark tactic...

- When freegans cannot meet their needs by foraging, they buy second-hand goods...

- Most freegans do not own cars...

- Just as freegans are outraged that people starve while food is trashed, they’re incensed that people endure homelessness while available housing remains vacant because the owners cannot profitably rent it out...

- Freegans view unused land, particularly vacant lots within cities, much the way they do food in garbage bins: a wasted resource capable of supplying vital nutritional needs...

- Freegans make a conscious decision: “I will not sacrifice my life to buy more stuff and pay more bills.”...

- The essence of freegansim is the belief that the social, political and ecological ills of our world are not due to a few harmful products or evil corporations but rather the entire system...

Monday, 4 August 2008

Korea: Stop arrests of trade union leaders

From LabourStart:

Act NOW!
Korea: Stop arrests of trade union leaders
Following a massive wave of protests and demonstrations, on 24 July the South Korean government issued arrest warrants for top leaders of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU) including Lee Suk-haeng (President) and Lee Yong-shik (General Secretary). Ms. Jin Young-ok, First Vice-President of the KCTU has been arrested and detained.

The police surrounded the building where the main office of the KCTU is located, ready to move in and arrest the leaders. Arrest warrants have also been issued for other union leaders (see list below).

This anti-union repression threatens to return Korea to the dark days of the military dictatorship which ended two decades ago. Korean trade unionists are asking for a huge international campaign to pressure their government to respect human rights.

List of other trade union leaders for whom arrest warrants have been issued:

Jung Gab-deuk, President, KMWU
Nam Taek-gyu, First Vice-president, KMWU
Yoon Hae-mo, President, Hyundai Motor Branch
Kim Tae-gon, First Vice-president, Hyundai Motor Branch
Kim Jong-il, Vice-president, Hyundai Motor Branch
Jung Chang-bong, Vice-president, Hyundai Motor Branch
Joo In-koo, Vice-president, Hyundai Motor Branch
Jo Chang-min, Secretary,Hyundai Motor Branch

Click here to add your email letter.

Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Call for Toronto Youth Submission - Toronto Palestine Film Festival

From the Toronto Palestine Film Festival:

Call for Toronto Youth Submission

Toronto Palestine Film Festival (TPFF) 2008 is pleased to announce the
"Show Us Your Toronto!" Youth Competition. Young filmmakers in Toronto
and the Greater Toronto Area are encouraged to make short films (no
longer than 3 minutes) about what it means to them to be Torontonian
given their diverse heritage, cultural and linguistic backgrounds.
There will be 7 winning entries and these will be premiered before
each night's program.

The objective of TPFF's Youth Competition is to allow our youth
audience to explore their identity as a concept of their perception of
who they are and how their surrounding environments have shaped them.
This competition will allow youth to use the medium of film to express
their views, and actively play a role in conveying the parallels in
the narratives of Torontonian and Palestinian youth. Given the
diversity of both these communities, TPFF is proud to showcase a
vibrant array of creative film submissions from yet-to-be-discovered,
young, artistic talents.

Conceived by Palestine House, the Festival is an important component
of the year-long activities commemorating the 60th Anniversary of the
Nakba. The Nakba, "the catastrophe" in Arabic, describes the 1948
expulsion of the indigenous population from Palestine. Organizers of
TPFF came together to highlight the often neglected, suppressed and
distorted Palestinian narrative, a collective experience similar to
indigenous peoples in Canada and in other countries around the world.
While highlighting the work of Palestinian filmmakers, the Festival
will showcase the diverse and creative work of all filmmakers (any
nationality) exploring both historic and contemporary themes related
to Palestinian identities, culture, and narrative.

While the Palestinian Diaspora in Toronto has been growing, there is
little mainstream knowledge about Palestinian history, culture and
arts. TPFF emerged out of calls for such knowledge by community
leaders and members. Since cinema is a powerful means for visually
interpreting the collective identity and historic struggle of the
Palestinian people, we hope to create an opening in the artistic field
within Toronto, in attempts to contribute to the multi-cultural and
diverse nature of this city. The "Show Us Your Toronto" Youth
Competition will be an integral means of organically creating this

See their Submission page for details.

Monday, 23 June 2008

Support for Migrant Farmworker, Hermelindo Gutierrez

This appeal came via email from a colleague for a colleague, one Salimah Valiani - apparently an Ottawa-based labour and immigration activist; loooks good to me:

Support for Migrant Farmworker, Hermelindo Gutierrez

Dear Friends,

Please see below for a brief description of the situation
of migrant worker and his family looking to remain in Canada
for emergency health reasons.

This worker has committed to Canadian farming for the past
several years, and now risks deportation because he fell
ill along the way. One of the most harrowing thoughts is
whether the kidney failure actually is linked to working
conditions on the farm. As you know, several toxicchemicals
are used in farms, with little or no protection
and information provided to migrant farm workers in Canada.

If you have the time, please do sign the petition at the
link below in suport of Hermelindo Gultierrez's application
for permanent residency on humantiarian and compassionate grounds.

Even if it does little to change the minds of Citizenship
and Immigration, I am sure that more signatures will help
raise the spirits and determination of Hermelindo and his family.

In solidarity,

URGENT Action Needed to Save Wind Energy Development in Ontario

From the latest Anarres Natural Health newsletter:

URGENT Action Needed to Save Wind Energy Development in Ontario

Anarres Natural Health Clinic, as part of my home, is 100% powered by wind generated electricity. I am a member of WindShare, as well as a Green Tag purchaser. Now more than ever, the viability of our cooperative and the development of renewable energy is threatened, with new rules, seemingly cooked up for the benefit of nuclear power developers, that make it virtually impossible to develop new projects where these are most needed.

The Premier will be attending the World Wind Energy Conference in Kingston, Ontario June 23rd. We have a short window of opportunity to let him know that these changes are detrimental to the sector and a potential embarrassment to his government on the international stage.

New changes include:
1. No new community or other renewable projects will be processed until the Fall.
2. Most of Ontario is off-limits to new renewable development, including Toronto and most of Northern Ontario (i.e. all orange and yellow zones in the attached map).
3. Limitations on project connection. This rule will limit who can participate and where.

These rule changes and suspensions were introduced with no warning or stakeholder engagement and contradict every basic principle of effective renewable energy policy making, namely the need for a stable, clear, consistent and fair policy environment.

Please send an email to the premier ASAP and copy your MPP. You can find your MPPs email address here:

For detailed information and a sample letter or email, please contact me at Thank you for your attention and support.

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Canadian Labour International Film Festival coming to Toronto in 2009

An announcement regarding Canada's first labour-oriented film festival from TORONTOpedia:

MAGINE A WORLD where thousands of films are made about workers and the conditions under which they live, work, fight, and succeed in their daily lives!

In 2009, Toronto will see the first-ever Canadian Labour International Film Festival (CLiFF). This will also mark the first ever labour-oriented film festival in Canada.

The world of labour has found it increasingly difficult to communicate its message as fewer and fewer people have greater control over the means of communication — the media.

It is more important than ever that working people be able to tell their own stories in their own words and in their own images.

With the wide availability of digital still and video cameras, camera-phones, and other tools, activists can now make their stories — but still find it difficult to exhibit their narratives.

CLiFF will be that venue, the first of many throughout Canada, we hope, and around the world.

Not only do we want to show films, we want to encourage MAKING films to show at this and other festivals.

We want to partner with any and all organizations friendly to those who do work, those who represent workers, and those who advocate on the behalf of workers. We also want to work with those whose mission it is to tell the stories of workers.

We also plan to create partnerships with organizations that teach the arts of film-making. Visit our website to see things as they develop and (please) send us ideas.


Website: [WWW]

Monday, 9 June 2008

Ethical Trading Forum Igniting the Flame for a Sweat-free Olympics

A recent notice from the Maquila Solidarity Network's Ethical Trading Action Group regarding their Igniting the flame for a sweat-free Olympics Ethical Trading Forum:

Forum participants will discuss and debate:

* Can workers making Olympic-branded products expect fair labour practices?
* How far and how fast do sportswear brands need to go to improve wages and working conditions?
* Does "made in China" equal "poor working conditions"?
* What can companies, governments, trade unions and NGOs do to promote and protect worker rights in China?

Speakers at the forum will include:

* Doug Miller, International Textile, Garment and Leather Workers' Federation
* Monina Wong, Labour Action China, Hong Kong
* Caitlin Morris, Director of Compliance, Integration and Collaboration, Nike Inc.
* Ann Duffy, Corporate Sustainability Officer, VANOC
* Ginny Coughlin, Global Strategies Director, UNITE HERE!
* Jim Sinclair, President, British Columbia Federation of Labour
* Kevin Thomas, Director of Advocacy, Maquila Solidarity Network

For more information on the forum, as well as a flyer to download,
please go to:

The forum is co-sponsored by the BC Federation of Labour, the Canadian
Labour Congress, the Ethical Trading Action Group, and the New
Westminster and Vancouver labour councils.

To register, please contact the CLC Pacific Regional Office:, 604-430-6766. (Registration fee: $30 civil society
organizations; $50 companies; $10 students.)

Thank you.

Lynda Yanz
Coordinator, Maquila Solidarity Network
Secretariat, Ethical Trading Action Group

Sunday, 1 June 2008

Taste for Justice 2008 at Tinto

A message from Tinto Coffee House:

Tinto is glad to join forces with you in supporting Amnesty International.

From June 1 - 15, 2008 we take part in Taste for Justice. This fundraising campaign puts food and justice together.

We will donate 20% of the sales from the Amnesty Special Menu to AI so they may continue their work toward the universal protection of Human Rights.

This will be the third year in a row that you and us are together in Taste for Justice.

The Amnesty International Special Menu includes Spicy Chicken Summer Wrap, Sasuauge Grilled Wrap, Guava & Fresh Orange Juice Smoothie, Red Iced Tea and Tipsy Revuelto.

Saturday, 24 May 2008

How do we build union power in the 21st Century? - May 25th Forum

If all the rules are changing...How do we build union power in the 21st Century?

Come to the Action Agenda Forum

Sunday, May 25, 2008; 3:30 p.m.
Convention Centre; North Building, Room 206E

Panel Co-chairs :

Carolyn Egan, President of the Toronto Steelworkers Area Council

Evelina Pan, President of the Thunder Bay District Labour Council

Other panelists:

Denis Lemelin, National President of CUPW

Nuredin Bulle, leader of the Hotel Workers Rising in Toronto

Susan Lambert, Vice-President of the BC Teachers Federation

Julie White, Research Director, Communications Energy Paperworkers

To see the Action Agenda, read about unions making a difference, or
engage in the debate on how to build power for the 21st century visit Action Agenda to Build Labour Power in the 21st Century to download the flyer
for distribution go to the Toronto & York Region Council site.

Saturday, 17 May 2008

Ride of Silence to mourn cyclists killed by motorists

A world-wide event, the Ride of Silence is happening this Wednesday, 21 May 2008 at 7 PM:

"Join cyclists worldwide in a silent slow-paced ride (max. 12 mph/20 kph) in honor of those who have been injured or killed while cycling on public roadways."

Meet at the southest corner of Bloor and Spadina. Wear a black armband, red if you've been in a car/bike accident.

See the bottom of the Canada locations page for more details and the I Bike TO post for more background.

Thursday, 15 May 2008

TSF Call-out: May 26-29 Gathering of Mother Earth Protectors

An announcement from the Toronto Social Forum:


Sovereignty Sleepover: Toronto, Queen's Park May 26th - May 29.

Rally: Queen's Park May 26th, 5 p.m. - dusk.

Respect the right of First Nations to say no to economic exploitation and environmental destruction.
No jail for saying no.
Free Bob Lovelace and the KI Six.

On May 26th Indigenous communities will gather at Queen's Park to uphold our duty to protect the land, forest, water, and air and to promote respect for our Indigenous rights to say no to economic exploitation and environmental destruction. It is time to end the jailing and harassment of our people for protecting mother earth and traditional ways. Please come to our large rally on May 26th at the legislature. We are also inviting supporters to join us in four days of ceremony, speakers, workshops, music, and a three night sovereignty sleep-over directly on the front lawn of the legislature.

Right now Indigenous communities across Ontario are taking a stand to assert our right to protect our traditional territories and the future of our peoples. Our communities are peacefully protesting destructive industrial projects that the government is permitting on our traditional lands without community consent.

Rather than respecting Treaties of co-existence and the UN recognized Indigenous right to withhold consent over industrial projects on traditional lands, the Ontario government is harassing Native people and jailing community activists and leaders including Bob Lovelace, Donny Morris, Sam McKay, Jack McKay, Cecilia Begg, Darryl Sainnawap, Bruce Sakakeep, and others. This cannot stand! Please join us in supporting freedom for First Nations and respect for the land.


We Need:
volunteers, donations of money, food, tents, blankets, billeting, endorsements, and publicity.

Please let us know if your group wants to organize an event during the Gathering on May 27, or May 28.

To help out, or for information updates contact:

Supporters: come prepared to take care of your own needs and to take direction from the communities.

This is an event of: Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (KI), Ardoch Algonquin First Nation, Asubpeeschoseewagong Netum Anishinabek (Grassy Narrows First Nation) [others may join soon].

Supporters: Christian Peacemaker Teams, Rainforest Action Network, No One is Illegal Toronto, Canadian Federation of Students, Canadian Labour Congress, CAW Sam Gindin Chair in Social Justice and Democracy, Ryerson University.

Sunday, 4 May 2008

National Fair Trade Weeks 2008

From TransFair Canada , your independent third-party certification of fair trade products:

National Fair Trade Weeks 2008 - Choose Fair Trade - Everyone Wins!

"Choose Fair Trade - Everyone wins!" National Fair Trade Weeks are
taking place from May 1st to 15th 2008. This campaign brings together
organizations, companies and individuals who promote Fair Trade and Fair Trade Certified products.

Fair Trade is a pragmatic and powerful tool for alleviating poverty in
developing countries. Fair Trade has come a long way in Canada. What
started as a small initiative by concerned citizens (focused primarily on
coffee), has evolved into a dynamic movement and market alternative.
Consumers in Canada can now find Fair Trade Certified teas, coffees,
sugar, cocoa, fresh fruits, rice, quinoa, spices, wine, shea butter,
cotton, cut flowers and sports balls. Fair Trade Certified products are
easy to find in retail shops across the country.

Fair Trade Certified products sales have increased remarkably over the
years. At the end of 2007, Fair Trade Certified retail sales in Canada
were over 120 million dollars. The Fair Trade Certification system now
benefits more than 1.4 million producers in 59 developing countries.
Demand for Fair Trade Certified products continues to grow in Canada, and
there are new products being introduced regularly.

During National Fair Trade Weeks, a wide range of local grassroots events
will take place in order to increase awareness of Fair Trade Certified
products and the benefits Fair Trade brings to communities in developing
countries. Events like Fair Trade Fairs, Movie Nights, Fair Trade Soccer
Tournaments and conferences will open the eyes, minds and taste buds of
Canadians to all the good things that Fair Trade brings, both to producers
in developing countries and to consumers in the Canada.

Please visit to find where to buy Fair Trade Certified
products, and to see a list of all the events taking place during National Fair Trade Weeks.

For more information:
Cynthia Wagner, Communications
TransFair Canada; 613.563.3351 x 21

Saturday, 3 May 2008

Argentina's Recuperation Movement

Argentina's Recuperation Movement: The struggle to work without a boss continues

Apr 30, 2008 By Marie Trigona

Marie Trigona's ZSpace Page / ZSpace

Who wants to work for a boss? I'm guessing that most people would say no.
Since the birth of capitalism, workers' movements have pondered the
utopian dream of liberating the working class from exploitive bosses.
Argentina has been home to a phenomenon called recuperated enterprises.
When the owner decided to shut down a factory or business, workers decided
to save their jobs and physically occupy their workplace. Overtime the
worker takeovers caught on. Today more than 200 worker run businesses are
up and running. In the very heart of Argentina's capital Buenos Aires,
workers at a 20 story hotel are making this utopian dream a reality.

Walk into the BAUEN Hotel, and most guests are astounded by the 70's
inspired d?r. The BAUEN hotel operates like any other hotel, but with one
big difference. There is no boss or owner. Guests appreciate the hotel's
convenient downtown location and cultural events. Locals also enjoy the
BAUEN's newly renovated front caf?alled Utopia.

But things weren't always bustling at this starlit hotel. Mar?del Valle, a
BAUEN worker recalls the workers' decision to occupy the abandoned hotel.
"Sometimes, I ask myself why am I here? We were able to recuperate a 20
story hotel, 220 rooms, 7 salons, a theater-bit by bit. The first carpets
we cleaned with scrub brushes on our hands and knees. A very small group
of companeros."

In the midst of Argentina's worst economic crisis in December 2001, the
hotel was ransacked and remaining workers were fired by the former owner
Mercoteles. A group of 15 workers along with supporters took over the
hotel on March 28, 2003.

Arminda Palacios is a seamstress who has worked at the hotel for over 20
years and was there when the workers who decided to cut off the locks on a
side entrance into the hotel during the initial occupation. "Us workers
and all of our supporters we entered the hotel through the entrance on
Corrientes Ave. The workers' entrance was on Corrientes. We simply
entered. There was a small lock. They cut the lock off and we walked in.
We went to the reception area. When we saw there was electricity, we
didn't think there was going to be electricity....we started to hug and cry."

The BAUEN Cooperative recently celebrated their 5 year anniversary of
workers' self-management. But the celebrations were bittersweet. The BAUEN
cooperative, like many of the recuperated enterprises, was forced to set
up shop without any legal backing whatsoever.

After 5 years, the Cooperative still has no legal standing and faced a
court ordered eviction notice last year. Manuel Benitez, a cooperative
associate at the hotel says that despite legal support, the public still
supports the workers rights to defend their jobs. "A judge has ruled that
the hotel should be handed over the original owner Marcelo Iurcovich. With
the eviction notice, they gave us 30 days. We did many actions with
organizations. We're still here thanks to the organizations and
demonstrations held in the street in front of the hotel. We've appealed
the eviction notice, but the appeal has been delayed. Once the appeal
decision comes, I don't know what is going to happen. We're here because
of our support from the public."

When the eviction notice arrived in July, 2007 - thousands mobilized not
only against the eviction, but for a long term legal solution for the
hotel. 150 workers are currently employed at the BAUEN cooperative.
"During my 20 years working at this company, I got to know the bosses
well. For us negotiation has been a bad word, and much more right now. We
don't have to negotiate with them! Because the BAUEN is ours, even if the
bosses don't like it!" That was Arminda Palacios again, a 68-year old
worker and cooperative advocate, at an assembly held shortly after the
eviction notice was delivered.

The eviction notice came in response to a petition by the Mercoteles
group, which the court recognizes as the legal owner of the property.
Appearing in court in 2006, Marcoteles Director Samuel Kaliman was unable
to provide the court with Mercoteles' address, board member names and
other legal information.

The federal court has accepted a appeal on behalf of the BAUEN cooperative
which has temporarily delayed the eviction order. According to Federico
Tonarelli, Argentina's worker-occupied factories which provide jobs for
more than 10,000 people need a definitive legal solution. "The
recuperated enterprises don't have a definitive legal framework. A
national expropriation law would not only provide workers with the legal
right to the buildings, but a framework for all the recuperated enterprises."

Back at the hotel, the 150 BAUEN cooperative associates continue to
reinvent social relations and reverse the logic of capitalism. Marcelo
Duharte has worked at the BAUEN for over 20 years. He says that the
workers are accomplishing what capitalists are not interested in doing,
creating jobs. "Even though the recuperated enterprises are just a grain
of sand, we're changing small things, not everything that we would like
to. Slowly were incorporating a new concepts. Not just workers taking over
property, but we're creating another economy and making our lives more
dignified through work. If the state doesn't implement policies to create
jobs, there are workers with their humility, transparency and honor
implementing a new philosophy for work."

Despite market and legal challenges, the BAUEN cooperative continues to
improve services and open its doors to other workers challenging the
system. Human rights activists, unionists and community organizers
regularly use the hotel's facilities for meetings and events. Argentina's
worker occupied factory movement is rallying across the country for a
national expropriation law in the face of eviction orders and legal
uncertainty. At a massive rock concert held last year, thousands voted to
resist against a forceful eviction of BAUEN and other occupied factories.

Marie Trigona is a writer, radio producer and filmmaker based in Buenos
Aires. She can be reached at

Tuesday, 29 April 2008

UFCW calls for national boycoot of Robin Hood products

The Duff Beer Daily email list, from the Beer Store Workers UFCW Local 12R24 recently reproduced two articles reporting on a call for a boycott of Robin Hood products:

Union holds rally in Port and calls for Robin Hood product boycott; From The Welland Tribune

The president of United Food and Commercial Workers Canada called for a
boycott of Robin Hood products when he met with UFCW Local 416P members Thursday.

It marked the one-year anniversary of a labour dispute between the union
and Horizon Milling that started when the company locked out 61 workers on April 24, 2007.

The company and the union last met in November to talk about a plan that
would have secured only 19 jobs.

Talks between the two sides broke off over severances, benefits and
retirement packages and have not resumed.

Local 416P president Fred Cronshaw said UFCW national president Wayne
Hanley led a rally Thursday morning attended by about 60 people at the
picket line on Sherwood Forest Lane, on a road leading to the closed mill.

Cronshaw said he is "frustrated" by the fact Horizon Milling has
"slammed the door" on negotiations and left 33 long-serving employees out of jobs.

"Some of the older guys are doing volunteer work in the community to
keep from going insane," Cronshaw said Thursday afternoon.

"The company could have settled this last November. We're waiting for
the company to do the right thing."

Cronshaw said the union can't control how Horizon Milling wants to
operate the mill going forward, but he stressed the workers who are
losing their jobs should be treated with more dignity when it comes to severance packages.

The company plan would return nine workers to the job immediately and
provide future jobs for up to 19 unionized employees in total, Cronshaw said.

"We have 30 people with 30 years in," he said.

"We're not going anywhere. We are still committed and we are still strong."

A pamphlet being circulated in conjunction with UFCW Canada, the
Canadian Labour Congress and the Ontario Federation of Labour called for
a nationwide boycott of Robin Hood products.

"The company, which refines flour products under the name of Robin Hood,
offered its workers, whose average seniority is 22 years, a reduction in
benefits, salary, pensions, a removal of severance, a downsizing of the
work force as well as a wage freeze for three years," the pamphlet said.

Rob Meijer, director of corporate affairs for Cargill Canada - the
parent company of Horizon Milling - commented on the work stoppage from Winnipeg Thursday.

"Nothing has changed," he said. "We have a package on the table that we
consider is in the best interests of the workers, the community and the
long-term sustainability of the plant."

As for the boycott, Meijer said Horizon Milling does not own the Robin Hood brand.

"Horizon is only one of several companies to pack Robin Hood products," he said.

"A call to boycott Robin Hood products is misleading to consumers
because it unfairly targets a party that is not involved in these negotiations."


Union calls for Robin Hood boycott; From Niagara This Week

A Canada-wide boycott of all Robin Hood products is being called for by
the United Food and Commercial Workers union.

They hope the action will help get 52 locked-out workers in Port Colborne back on the job.

The UFCW Canada National president Wayne Hanley announced the action as
he visited the line at the Horizon Milling refining plant for the first
time on April 24, one year to the day that the work action began.

Several other UFCW locals from across southern Ontario also attended the
rally to support UFCW 416P and its president, Fred Cronshaw, which
represents the workers at Horizon Milling.

"This is not a day of speeches or celebrations. This is a day of
recognition," said Hanley, addressing the about 70 people in the mixed
crowd of workers and supporters. "We have workers here locked out for a
year and there doesn't seem to be an end in sight."

Hanley announced that the nationwide boycott of Robin Hood products,
which includes flour, oatmeal and other baking products, has been
approved by both the Canadian Labour Congress and the Ontario Federation
of Labour. The CLC's convention is upcoming in May and Hanley hopes the
word will spread across the country about the work action and boycott.

"This seems like a proper time to get some support across Canada," said
Hanley to applause. "It might be the catalyst of what might start a settlement."

The work action, now in its second year, began when the UFCW 416P
refused to a new collective bargaining agreement with Horizon Milling's
parent company Cargill, a major wheat-refining corporation based in the
United States. The original agreement expired in November 2006 and
Cargill offered the union, with an average worker seniority of 22 years,
a deal which included reductions in wages, benefits, pensions, a removal
of severance, downsizing and a three-year wage freeze.

The last time the two sides met was Nov. 8, when the company agreed to
give back some severance. Thirty-three people at the mill however, would
still be out of a job. After failing to reach an agreement, the negotiating companies haven't met since.

When the lockout began, 61 people were originally out of work. However, some have retired or passed away.

About seven salaried workers report to the plant every day under heavy video surveillance, said Cronshaw.

"They're cleaning the cleaning," said Hanley.

The plant contains no raw material.

Hanley said the takeover by Cargill has resulted in "U.S. values" being pushed on "Canadian workers, which is really sad."

"It's hardly fair for anybody to point the finger at the union here," he said.

Cronshaw thanked the supporters at the rally for coming out.

"We're kind of isolated back here, so it's nice to know we're not alone," he said.

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

Avaaz appeal: Save the Olympics

Reposted from

"Dear Friends,

The Beijing Olympics are a crucial chance to persuade China's leaders to support dialogue and human rights in Tibet, as well as Burma and Darfur, and we need to seize it.

China wants the Olympics to be a coming out party for a newly modern, powerful, and respectable nation. But the Olympics are about humanity and excellence--we can't celebrate them in good conscience while ignoring the suffering of Tibetans and others.

So Avaaz is launching a major new campaign: SAVE THE OLYMPICS. We'll ask China to save the Olympics for all of us, by making specific, reasonable progress in dialogue with the Dalai Lama, securing release of Burmese and Tibetan political prisoners, and supporting peacekeeping in Darfur.

Our appeal will be placed on billboards and ads in major cities, in Chinese overseas publications, and we'll hire a Chinese language team to engage directly on China's lively blogs and in chatrooms. We need 10,000 donations from people from 100 countries to kickstart the campaign this week with a truly global sponsorship--click below to see the ads and donate whatever you can, however small:

Within China, where the Olympics were once seen as a victory for greater openness and internationalism, the internal debate has taken a bitter turn. Most Chinese are now growing angry over Olympic activism, seeing it as biased and "anti-Chinese."

If the games are a fiasco, China's repressive hardliners will win the day--and we could see the worst crackdown yet.

We need to stop this, and fast. So our campaign aims to reach out to China and Chinese people to show that we're not anti-China but pro-humanitarian, and that our desire is to save the 2008 Olympics, not ruin them. Click below to donate now:

The Slogan of the 2008 Olympics is "One World, One Dream". Let's reach across barriers of perception and division, and ask the Chinese to make this dream come true for us this summer.

With hope,

Ricken, Ben, Graziela, Galit, Pascal, Iain, Milena, Sabrina and the whole Avaaz Team.

PS – If you are new to Avaaz, we are a new global campaigning organization launched in January 2007 that has rapidly grown to over 3 million members in every nation on earth. The Economist magazine has written of the power of Avaaz to "Give world leaders a deafening wake up call", and we have been featured on the BBC talkshow HARDtalk. David Miliband, the UK foreign secretary, calls Avaaz "the best of the new in foreign policy". You can see the results of our last campaign fundraiser, on Burma here, and the results of our last campaign on climate change here, as well as other campaign results here. Avaaz Foundation is a legally registered non-profit organization."

Monday, 21 April 2008

TorontoTheBetter Screening of You Can Never Bike Alone

Welcome to the 2008 TorontoTheBetter 3rd Annual Film Series:
Everyday Economic Choices for a Better Toronto and a Better World

Presenting PWYC Movie, Discussion, Action...

- Free TorontotheBetter shopping cards for first 20 to arrive

Date: Wednesday, Apriil 23, 2008
Time: 8:00pm - 10:00pm
Location: 519 Church Street

You Never Bike Alone - A Film produced, written, directed and edited by journalist Bob Alstead for ICYCLE.CA Productions.

Anthony Humphreys (Toronto Cyclists Union)
Herb van den Dool (Community Bicycle Network)

You Never Bike Alone is a documentary that charts the history of Vancouver's Critical Mass
rides from the early "Tame the Lions" rides, that helped bring about better bike facilities on the Lions Gate Bridge, to the wild spectacle of Vancouver's
freak bike collective and the World Naked Bike Ride in more recent times.

As well as a humorous and entertaining look at how city cyclists are mobilizing, You Never Bike Alone looks at the implications of transportation decisions by politicians at municipal and provincial levels and asks are we up to the challenge of making a truly liveable city.

Sponsored by:
Bazant Unique Adornments
Department of Antropology/U of T
Libra Information Co-op c/o TorontoTheBetter
IWW GMB Toronto
The Harvest Room
Thorn Glass Studio

Saturday, 19 April 2008

FREE Workshop, FREE passes to The Green Living Show

Anarres Natural Health BOOTH # 1234 AT THE GREEN LIVING SHOW APRIL 25, 26 AND 27th...

What: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Aromatherapy and Natural Ingredients, But Didn't Get Around To Asking
When: Tuesday, April 22, 6 - 8
Wednesday, April 23, 6 - 8
Where: Anarres Natural Health Clinic, 12 Ossington Crescent, Toronto, ON M6J 2A6

What you'll learn
Natural sun screens: which oils and butters have an SPF of 15 naturally?
Essential Oils: what they do and how they do it! what's safe for the childbirthing year and for kids
Perfumery: "Top, Middle and Base Notes", how to blend them and what they do
Soaps: soap versus detergents, helpful ingredients, soaps for common skin problems
Hair Care: natural ingredients and hair care, what never ever ever to use anywhere near your body
Miracle Minerals: what are dead sea and epsom salts, and what do they do
Lotions, Potions and Creams: the mysteries of cold creams revealed!
Palm and vegetable wax candles: why petroleum makes us and our planet sick, why vege wax is brilliant!
Natural mouth care: why natural toothpaste? natural mouthwash? natural lip balm? cold sore care...
Detoxification: the simple ways, and low cost ingredients and products that help
Treatments: what is reflexology, Thai,massage, lomi lomi, meridian work, lymphatic drainage?
Energy Work: what is polarity therapy, reili, chakra balancing?
How to Reject Plastics: Why Anarres packages in glass and vegetable cellulose instead of petroleum plastics
...and more!!!

Attend one or both workshops.
RSVP required.
Volunteers: FREE see below Non Volunteers $40 per session.
Tea, crystal water and snacks will be provided to tide you over.

As a BONUS, everyone who attends the workshop will receive a free pass to
The Green Living Show - instead of $13 at the door!

Would you like to attend the Green Living Show for free?
Would you like to learn more about natural products,
what they do, and how they do it?

Would you like to receive treatments in exchange for
volunteering at the Anarres Natural Health booth?

After exhibiting at the Holistic Health Show in March, I realized that I needed someone at my booth at all times so that I could do crazy stuff like eat and answer calls of nature. Plus, my two year old was not very articulate with customers.

From time to time, a friend or client would drop by, and it was wonderful! Clients could tell potential customers about my products and what I do. I could run off to sample cocoa nuts.

I thought "I wonder if folks would be willing to help out in exchange for treatments? I wonder if folks would enjoy learning more about what I make, how I make it and what it does and why?"

I can't offer cash, because that is what I do not have
I have knowledge and I have time. So here's the deal:

Volunteer for at least a four hour time slot and I'll give you:

1. A free Exhibitor's Badge. I'll buy you one, and you'll have access to all three days of The Green Living Show. VALUE: @$45

2. A free three hour workshop/training session where you'll learn about essential oils, soaps, carrier oils, clays... everything you need to know about helpful and harmful ingredients, how and why they do what they do. VALUE: $50

3. A 1 hour Gift Certificate for any treatment I offer, to use yourself, or give as a gift, for the first 4 hour shift you help me out in. VALUE: $60-120

4. A 1 hour Gift Certificate for any treatment I offer, to use yourself, or give as a gift, for every hour after your first 4 hours that you help me out in. VALUE: $60-120 every hour after 4 hours.

Once you know about what's in my products, you are most capable of answering questions, and selling products. I don't need high strung sales behaviour - just common sense attentiveness to questions and concerns, an ability to use a calculator, take money, make change, and put things in bags. If you have a vehicle, or are great at packing, you may want to volunteer helping me to set up or clear out. But I expect that if you do volunteer, you'll have a great time!

Let me know ASAP if you are interested or know someone who might be.

Love & RRRevolution, Tracey

Tracey TieF
Certified Natural Health Practitioner
416.535.9620 or