Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Forum - Organizing in an Era of Precarious Work - Thursday December 9 2010

From the Toronto branch's email list of the IWW (Industrial Workers of the World):

*Organizing in an Era of Precarious Work*
Ryerson Student Centre - Oakham House
1st Floor - Thomas Lounge
6.00 pm to 9 pm
Thursday December 9, 2010
Refreshments provided.

Join fellow activists, allies, supporters, workers and community in a forum
to discuss the reality of part-time, precarious and undocumented work
enforced through immigration and capitalism that now dominates our working

Hear and learn about the nature and challenges of precarious work and take
part in discussions that will help us build and prepare for workshops and an
action plan for the upcoming labour conference in January 2011.

Organized by Justice for Migrant Workers, Labour Caucus of the Greater
Toronto Worker's Assembly
, Migrante and No One is Illegal.

For more information, contact 416-529-9600 or cupe4308@gmail.com

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

J4MW calls for overhaul of Ontario's Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program

...see the latest news release from Justicia for Migrant Workers:

Migrant farm workers stage wildcat strike to demand thousands of dollars in unpaid wages: Employer responds with deportation

November 23, 2010

(Simcoe, Ontario) Over a 100 migrant farm workers employed at Ghesquiere Plants Ltd. are facing imminent repatriation (deportation) after staging a wildcat strike to demanding thousands of dollars in unpaid wages.

The migrant workers from Mexico, Jamaica, Trinidad and Barbados came together across racial, linguistic and ethnic lines to organize this wild cat strike and strengthen their collective power. The workers employed by this farm described numerous rights violations and complaints about their living conditions including the following:

- Workers are each owed from $1000 to $6000 in unpaid wages
- Workers are to be evicted and will be homeless as of Thursday, November 25th, 2010
- Most of the Mexican and Trinidadian workers will be repatriated by this Thursday. All Jamaican workers have been repatriated
- Electricity and heat has been cut off in one bunk
- Deplorable and very crowed living conditions

Justicia for Migrant Workers (J4MW), a grassroots advocacy migrant rights organization, calls for the immediate payment of all wages owing to workers. Migrant workers employed at Ghesquiere Plant Ltd. are being forced to return home and cannot provide for their families. Repatriation denies them access to pursue legal avenues under federal and provincial laws, basic protections accorded to permanent residents in Canada thus J4MW calls on both levels of government to intervene to protect migrants and prosecute employers who denied these workers basic rights. J4MW stresses that Temporary Foreign Worker Programs such as the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program denies migrant workers the ability to exert their rights and are in need of an urgent and complete overhaul.

J4MW Contacts

Chris Ramsaroop 1-647-834-4932 or ramsaroopchris@gmail.com
Carolina Alvarado Zuniga 1-647-296-6753

Justicia for Migrant Workers
c/o Workers' Action Centre
720 Spadina Avenue, Suite 223
Toronto ON M5S 2T9

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Support Iraq War Resisters

December 2nd: Two Toronto fundraisers in support of Iraq War resisters

From east to west, Toronto is fundraising for Iraq War resisters on THURSDAY DECEMBER 2nd – two great events, one great cause! Please come out to one (or both!) of these events, bring your neighbours and friends, help raise much needed funds for the ongoing fight to keep Iraq War resisters in Canada.



Canadian lyricist and composer Jon Brooks performs a benefit for the War Resisters Support Campaign, with special guests Antonia Zerbisias, Toronto Star columnist and author of the "Broadsides” blog and Iraq War resister Jeremy Hinzman.

Thursday, December 2nd

8 p.m.

Lula Lounge

1585 Dundas Street West

$20 or pay what you can • Dinner reservation guarantees seating 416 588 0307



Come out to the “Support Don’t Deport “ Benefit Jam in support of local War Resisters Phil and Jamine, with special musical guests Mr. Rick & the Biscuits, Darren Eedens and comedian Robin Crossman.

Thursday, December 2nd

8:30pm - 11:30pm

The Prohibition Gastrohouse

696 Queen Street East

$25 in advance or $30 at the door (includes first drink and appetizer)

Ticket info at http://www.thejamblog.com/

Monday, 15 November 2010

Calico closed due to Jared's career opportunity...

Well, seems like Calico Cafe and Catering just opened, but already the proprietor has moved on the better things...from the Calico Facebook page:

"Calico cafe and catering
would like to thank you all for being a part of this wonderful/taxing experience. Calico has become more than I could have hoped for in its short time and I will carry the experience with me forever.

I have be offered a position that will allow for travel and more culinary adventure.
Calico is closed for service as of now

I wish you all the best of luck!
Please stay in touch.

and the staff of Calico"

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Davenport West Bike Project recruiting volunteers

The following email notice originally came from Gabrielle Langlois of the Davenport-Perth Neighbourhood and Community Health Centre:

"I am writing to let you know about a new health promotion initiative in the Davenport west area.

The Davenport West bike project aims to create/further develop bike culture and increase physical activity and awareness that physical activity can help improve health and well being. We ran a successful pilot this past summer (13 free bike clinics) and with new funding from the Ministry of Health Promotion and Sport, will run a more developed project until the fall of 2011. From Dec. 2010 to March 2011 it will include training for volunteers (bike repair, health promotion, healthy eating, safe riding/injury prevention), and in the spring/summer of 2011 will include free community bike clinics and community rides.

We are currently recruiting volunteers (youth, seniors, newcomers, veteran cyclists, etc.) interested in becoming involved in this project and are looking to you to help us spread the word. Attached is a “call to volunteer” poster and it would be greatly appreciated if you can please post in your agency/area. Please feel free to forward this email to others who may be interested. This project is in collaboration with The Stop Community Food Centre, Bike Pirates, Sweet Pete’s bike shop, CultureLink, and myfirstwheels.

The first training session is Tuesday Dec. 7. Interested applicants can contact me via email at glanglois@dpnc.ca, via phone at 416.656.8025 x 377 or come to DPNC at 1900 Davenport Rd. and I can provide more information."

To see a copy of the original street notice, visit the I Bike TO blog post here. I notice Bike Pirates among the partners listed there...they seem to be everywhere these days...

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Food for a Healing Planet: Julie Daniluk talks to Taodhg Burns of TorontotheBetter

It’s sad, I see it everyday, in Toronto and other cities, Canadian bodies, and the minds within them, struggling to support the weight that has been put on them. Obesity and diabetes are everywhere in 2010, and by the look of it, they won’t be going away quickly. If the idea that we can eat our way out of the crisis seems crazy, listen on. New TorontotheBetter business person Julie Daniluk has something to say about it.

The Ukraine, the birthplace of Julie Daniluk’s grandmother was once known as Europe’s breadbasket, the source of basic foodstuffs for the continent . And sure enough Grannie Daniluk made the cabbage rolls – all ingredients from the backyard – and other meals that fed the family bodies. And in the case of Julie, new TorontotheBetter business creator, author of Meals that Heal, and host of TV programe The Perfect Fit, Grannie fed her spirit too. The idea of food that heals was born in the culture of her childhood, so what Julie is preaching – and it is belief that drives her – is not something new , however trendy natural aka organic/biologique food has become of late.

No, for Julie, food that heals means more than natural food, it means returning to nature in the way we prepare it, to the way meals were made in her Grannie’s day, to what works, and has worked. As an example of what might be, we started talking about donuts, the classical junk food of many’s choice. Images of chain donut guzzling fit well with TV- and DVD- hooked generations for whom watching sport has replaced doing it. But no food, including donuts, is evil, lullabies Julie. It’s how we make it/them. Here’s my donut lesson from the gospel of Julie Daniluk: Although sometimes the wheat that goes into most basic dough donut dough is not always problem-free (wheat ingredients can cause problems for some), it’s when you drop the donut dough in 350 degree deep fat that those potentially nice donuts become, if not evil, then hazardous to your health, releasing carcinogenic free radicals into your bloodstream and posing risks to major organs.

OK, so back to basics must be our mantra. Most of us likely have an instinctive respect for “mother [or grandmother] knew best”, messages, but who now knows what Julie’s Grannie knew? And if they don’t how will they find out? In 2010, bookstores are full of healthy eating and natural growing manuals. but meanwhile the obesity beat goes on.

The good news is, there are hopeful signs. Like TorontotheBetter, where we’ve seen an explosion of healthy food enterprises in the last few years, in her work as cooking adviser, Julie is seeing many newcomers to the world of food preparation eager to learn more and different. Ok, we all have to eat, including lawyers, but law society representatives like the ones Julie’s seen at her classes, now that’s likely new, and a sign of something deeper that’s going on. Even if they’re aging lawyers regretting years of donuts, they’re getting concerned and that’s a pre-determinant of change. Some of us, especially the non-lawyers, might be suspicious of a “legal donut”, i.e. a donut made by lawyers, but for Julie getting the healthy food message out to whoever will listen is her mission. And she’s happy to see them.

With lessons like these, then, maybe we’d all have liked school! A revolution requires masses and many tactics. Whether it is Jamie Oliver dressing up like a chicken nugget, a condo-dweller growing a bean or two on their balcony, or Julie relaying her Grannie’s messages to lawyers , each of these actors is playing an important part that speaks to different audiences, and a whole is emerging greater than the parts added together. Together, educators and entrepreneurs like Julie, and their audiences, are building a healthier Toronto and a healthier Toronto is a better Toronto.
All well and good, we usually end our interviews this way, but… In this case, despite the fact that a healthy meal can be made, as Julie maintains, for $5, how many of the people who have to live on $5 healthy- meals are actually able to eat them? Not enough, obviously, and thereby hangs the tail/tale.

To realize the healthiness benefits of the lessons that Julie and others bear, we need governance changes that will help to get out the knowledge to all, particularly those who most need to know it (as well, of course, as the money to buy the ingredients for the recipes). And that’s pretty much all of us, so separated are we urban-dwellers, from the basics of food and cooking. Right now, the messages that most continuously get to us are the commercially derived and largely unhealthy ones. Each week I walk past a restaurant offering all you can eat Sushi meals. All you can eat Sushi!. Imagine it. It’s no surprise that in a city that publicly values healthiness for its citizens – an economic as well as humanitarian benefit – but is unable, or, in some cases, unwilling, to implant the behaviours that will realize it, the public, particularly the poor, keep getting unhealthier than they have to be.

What can we do, as citizens? Listen to Julie in all her diverse media (print, TV and in person), yes. But then, do what we can to make those lessons realizable for all. Healthy eating is not just about personal choices. Our choices are determined by our social and economic status. That said, being able to make healthy meals from if/when we have healthy options is clearly part of the solution. If we don’t live near farmers’ markets and the cost of getting to them as well as of the food at them, is out of our league, then our ability to take advantage of the lessons of Julie and progressive nutritionists like her will be limited. As TorontotheBetter supporters what are we to do? Fight for the changes that will make healthy food options, and knowledge about healthy meals, like Julie’s, a real option for all, wherever they live in the city.

Monday, 8 November 2010

Jo-Anne McArthur: Photographer one of Canada's top 50 volunteers of 2010

Kudos to Jo-Anne McArthur for being recognized as one of Canada's Champions of Change. From the 'About the Candidate' section of her Champions of Change page:

"When Jo-Anne McArthur takes a photo of an animal, she wants you to feel something. She wants you to see an animal as a sentient being, one that can experience fear, isolation, and pain. When she investigates a factory farm or visits an animal sanctuary, she is looking for those moments when an animal expresses a feeling toward other animals and human beings.

Jo-Anne has taken tens of thousands of photographs in the name of We Animals, the animal welfare organization she founded. Her photographs have been used in numerous awareness campaigns and articles by Sea Shepherd, Elle Magazine, WSPA, SPCA, and the Jane Goodall Institute. She also presents her photographs in slideshow presentations across Ontario."

Reality is What You Make It

A reply to an article by Kevin Libin: Connecting the dots in the National Post

The Tea Party is a group of angry, disaffected Americans who have just been set up by the power behind Wall Street who for some reason Obama had to bring on board in his administration. Perhaps his thought was that those who broke it could fix it and also best to have your enemies in view.

Also just look at some of the founders of the Tea Party, The Koch brothers for example, with a $35 billion tar sands refining opertion to run. Wall Street now have unwitting pawns on the political game board of disintegrating "Western democracy". This isn't a recent phenomena but had its claws in the economy with the end of the Keynes Philosophy and superceeded by the Milton Friedman School of thought, the Market is infallible and exercised his economics thanks to Thatcher & Reagan.

- “They’ve looked at their situation and decided in the last two years, Obama made the drift of recent decades explicit, and a lot of Americans woke up to that and decided they didn’t like where they were drifting to,”

Obama got his majority as people were looking for a different kind of leadershp not like the Bushs' & Clinton's which were only two sides of the Wall Street coin and just two years doesn't make up for the last thirty. Americans don't wake up that fast. No country does.

As for fundamentalism of any kind be it free market, Christian, Muslim, Judaism, it has always succeeded in creating extremely divisive conflicts and is exploited by a group who have the power, or think they have the power or want more power, to justify the destruction of those who oppose them. If you can tap into their emotions (9/11, Wall Street Crash of 2008) and combine it with additional fears you will have control of dedicated willing extremists.

Steyn's assertion that "United States as the only liberal power properly equipped, both demographically and psychologically, to withstand the undermining of its values by the growing global influence of Islamic fundamentalism." is that it was violently born in 1776 and developed a pathological nationalism for whom the Tea Party was an iconic symbol of David defeating the English Goliath.

Steyn is using Khadr to support his anti-immigration thesis "Khadr family as the poster boys for all that’s virtuous in Canada, it’s not an assimilation issue, it’s a societal issue.” It could be argued that one society's "poster boy" is another society's "poster boy" (intended) such that it could also be argued that one person's terrorist is another person's freedom fighter. Khader is just a symbol, an icon, a pawn with an Islamic fundamentalist angle.

Where could this lead? "The Clash of Civilizations" is more than just a euphemism it today it is intended to become reality. The bible, like H.G. Well's Journey to the Moon, is written by man and was most likely inpsired by events and thoughts, some divine/creative, of the time. But what ever man can envision he can create a serious illusion of reality. Some realities are pathological particularly those who look in the skies for Armageddon. As the rich become richer and resources, rational society, and climate dissappear by their hands, we are left with the last man standing. He will die too Mr. Steyn.

More TorontoTheBetter congratulations for NOW Best of Toronto winners

...following up on a previous short post, I should also extend thanks to Bikes on Wheels for being voted the best Bike Mechanic in NOW Magazine's Best of Toronto 2010.

Also, Mountain Equipment Co-op was voted best sporting goods store.

And finally, The Big Carrot won in two categories: best Natural Food Market and best Vitamin/Herbalist Store - and come to think of it, that last win warrants some congratulations to Julie Daniluk, the nutrintionist and public relations worker at the Big Carrot...

Sunday, 7 November 2010

2nd Annual Canadian Labour International Film Festival 2010 starts in Toronto on November 20th

I received an email from the Labour Eduction Centre regarding the upcoming Canadian Labour International Film Festival:

"Over 50 communities across Canada are taking part. In Toronto, the Labour Film Festival takes place in just a few weeks:

Saturday and Sunday November 20-21 and 27-28

Innis Town Hall (University of Toronto), 5 minutes south of St. George subway station, corner of St. George and Sussex

All films are free! (Donations encouraged)

22 great films from Canada and other countries – Please join us!"

See the list of films here.

Friday, 5 November 2010

Olive Harvest - Olive War

Exhibition: Tuesday, November 9 to Sunday, November 21
Reception: Tuesday, November 16 at 7:00 pm

"Today, Mr. President, I have come bearing an olive branch and a freedom fighter's gun. Do not let the olive branch fall from my hand." Yasser Arafat at United Nations, November 13, 1974.

Montreal based photo-journalist Valerian Mazataud presents his photo essay "Olive Harvest - Olive War in Palestine" Valerian will be present to speak of his experience and to take questions at a reception on Tuesday, November 16.

Branches are cut, trees are burnt, harvests are stolen, and attacks are violent. Since 2000, Israeli NGOs such as Rabbis for Human Rights have denounced the violent acts committed by settlers during the olive harvest, a key period for farmers, families and the economy of Palestinian villages.

The olive harvest in the West Bank used to be a joyful time, but, for the past years, it rhymes with violence. Israeli media now refers to it as, the "Olive War".

On Bible's lands, symbols are all mighty. Stones against machine guns, children against soldiers. The Olive tree is an ancestral symbol of peace, uniting the people of the Mediterranean and beyond. Today, it has become not only the ground, but also the means and the issue of confrontations between Israeli settlers and unarmed Palestinian farmers.

Valerian Mazataud is freelance photo-journalist based in Montreal. He visited the West Bank during the fall of 2009, and chose to look at the Israel-Palestine conflict under the symbolic shade of the olive tree.

Need to know:
- Exhibit no charge
- Reception by donation: $10-20 sliding scale
- Sorry, not wheelchair accessible

Beit Zatoun is a non-profit art & culture centre located at 612 Markham Street (right by Bathurst subway).


Come As Your Are & Good For Her top NOW magazine poll...

Congratulations to Come As You Are for being voted Best sex store by NOW magazine readers. And also to Good For Her as Runner-up.

...But is this any surprise at all, really?...