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.