Rally for Gaza CANCELLED – but let’s keep in touch

Friends,

I just heard that the Palestinian students have cancelled the rally against
the war in Gaza
, scheduled for Sunday.

But as we all know, the war on Gaza is not over. With the ongoing blockade they can’t even get what they need to start rebuilding – again.

In brainstorming with a friend tonight, I wondered if those of us who are interested could start some ongoing action in KW, to raise awareness of the daily violence that Palestinians face.

Did you all see the 2 excellent letters in Friday’s Record, confronting the unjust way the Palestinians are portrayed by gov’t and media? One was by Rev Desmond Jagger-Parsons of Trinity United Church – who is one of the people on this list. Desmond you were really on a tear! Good for you.

What are some things we might do? Share articles among ourselves? Start a moderated discussion list? Start a blog? Hold a regular public vigil – for Palestinians killed, or imprisoned, or land lost, or homes demolished and trees uprooted …. it’s endless.

Please let’s keep talking and sharing ideas. We’ve abandoned the field to the pro-Israel spin doctors for too long!

Shalom,

Eleanor Grant

Rally For Gaza, Sunday 25 November

Please forward to your friends and networks:

Message from Students for Palestinian Rights:

Please join our peaceful demonstration condemning the attacks by the Israeli Military Forces on:

When: Sunday November 25, 2012

Time: 2:00 p.m.

Location: Kitchener City Hall

Bring any flags, signs, and kuffiyahs or anything else you may have.

Oct 19 Vigil to mourn Ashley Smith

Announcement from Shannon Balla:

Remembering Ashley Smith
Community gathering & vigil

October 19th, 7-8pm
Speakers Corner (King and Benton), Kitchener

On the 5th anniversary of Ashley’s death in a segregation cell in Kitchener’s Grand Valley Institution for Women

Come and share a time of collective mourning and a renewed commitment to change as we remember Ashley and others who struggle against the isolation and oppression of the prison system

Hosted by:  We Remember Ashley Smith Campaign

For more information: 226-789-6786; shannon.balla@gmail.com

Facebook:  www.facebook.com/events/198140513653901/

 

Background: 
Ashley Smith (January 29, 1988 – October 19, 2007) died at age 19 in a segregation cell at the Grand Valley Institution for Women in Kitchener.  Having been denied a transfer to a psychiatric facility and on suicide watch, Ashley tied a ligature around her neck and, while staff watched (having been ordered not to intervene), asphyxiated to death. The over four years of Ashley’s institutionalization were marked by isolation, violence, forced injections, and frequent transfers. In the 11 months before her death, while in federal custody, she was moved 17 times between 8 facilities in 4 provinces, largely for ‘administrative reasons’. She was denied access to her family, to advocates and to legal counsel. 

 

Reports of the Federal Correctional Investigator and New Brunswick Ombudsman attribute Ashley’s death to failures of individual staff and to much deeper failures within the correctional and mental health systems themselves.  A provincial coroner’s inquest was launched in Ontario but was halted in September 2011 due to legal challenges and logistical obstacles.  A new inquest is set to begin in January 2013.

 

Ashley’s death in Grand Valley five years ago exposes the inherent violence of the ‘corrections’ system and demands a response from those of us who live in the community where she died.  Remembering Ashley, and all those who have died or been damaged by these institutions, is an act of collective resistance against a deeply unjust ‘justice system’.  Strengthening our shared commitment to building communities of love, equity, and true justice is at the heart of this event. 

Oct 25 Town Hall to Save the Community Start-Up fund

Town Hall Meeting: Save the Community Start-Up and Maintenance Benefit (CSUMB)
Thursday, 25 October 2012
18:30 until 20:30

Kitchener Downtown Community Centre, 35B Weber St West

Presented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees
and the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty

Join the province-wide mobilization to protect this vital benefit!

Calling all individuals, unions, agencies, community and faith groups:
Build a united front against austerity! Demand economic justice for all!

Hosted by Kitchener’s Poverty Makes Us Sick (PMUS)

If you want to help build this event or learn how you and
others in your community can receive the CSUMB, contact us today.

Poverty Makes Us Sick: ph: 226-789-6786 or forspecialdiet@gmail.com

Background:

The 2012 Ontario budget calls for the cancellation of the Community Start-up and Maintenance Benefit and the Home Repairs Benefit (CSUMB). The cuts are scheduled to take effect in January 2013. A province-wide campaign is being built to save the CSUMB and, in Waterloo Region, local organizers are looking to contribute to this in a number of ways.

• October 24th mass call-in to local MPPs, demanding their commitment to saving the CSUMB.
• October 25th Town Hall Meeting, with featured speakers from OCAP and CUPE will help to situate local efforts within the larger provincial campaign to save the CSUMB and to build solidarity between labour and community struggles to promote economic justice for all in Ontario.
• Mass clinics will be held over the next month (beginning on Saturday, October 20th) to make people aware of how they can apply for CSUMB and to help all those who wish to obtain it to fill out application forms.

What is the CSUMB?

The CSUMB provides funds of up to $800 for individuals and up to $1500 to families, once every two years for people on Ontario Works (OW) and Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) to maintain their housing. Essentially, this is a homelessness prevention benefit. It is also about offering people the necessary economic mobility required to keep themselves and their children in safe living conditions.

The CSUMB helps the nearly 900,000 people on OW and ODSP pay for things like first and last month’s rent deposits. It helps people buy or replace furniture. It helps people put down deposits on utilities or pay overdue utility bills. More than 16,000 people are currently forced to use this benefit every month.

The existence of this program highlights the fact that current OW and ODSP rates are woefully inadequate, leaving those receiving assistance living in deep poverty. These cuts will only further the current crisis in this system. Along with the recent cuts to discretionary benefits, surviving on these meager benefits becomes even less possible.

Cutting the CSUMB will particularly hurt:

• women and young adults fleeing violence at home;
• people trying to move from shelters into permanent homes;
• individuals transitioning from prison back into society;
• people leaving psychiatric units and attempting to resume life in the community;
• people dealing with housing situations that threaten their health, e.g. insufficient insulation and roofing, bedbug infestations or mold;
• people who cannot afford the rising cost of energy.

NO MORE CUTS! Join the growing community response and help to protect the CSUMB!

Oct 23: Yves Engler talk on Harper’s foreign policy

Announcement from Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East:

Yves Engler to speak on his book:
THE UGLY CANADIAN: STEPHEN HARPER’S FOREIGN POLICY
Tues. Oct. 23 at 7 pm

Wilfred Laurier University
BAB202 – Bricker Academic Building, room 202
75 University Avenue West
(Talk location is closer to intersection of Clayfield Ave and Bricker Ave)
Waterloo, ON, N2L 3C5
TICKET INFO
Admission is free.

Home page of sponsoring organization:
http://www.cjpme.org/

Another Secret Trade Deal – with China

Please visit this link on Leadnow’s site, and tell PM Harper not to sign on to yet another secret trade deal: this time the “Foreign Investment Protection Agreement” with China.

http://www.leadnow.ca/canada-not-for-sale

Here’s the scoop:

In days, Prime Minister Harper could approve the Chinese National Offshore Oil Company’s $15 billion takeover of Nexen, a Canadian oil company,

and pass a sweeping Canada-China trade deal allowing Chinese companies to overturn Canadian laws in secret courts. 

These deals would pave the way for a massive natural resource buyout,

and restrict Canadians’ democratic control over our economy, environment and energy – even when Canadian lives are at stake.
 
Tell PM Harper and your MP that Canada is not for sale.

Stop the CETA

To Catherine Fife, MPP:

Cfife-co@ndp.on.ca

519-725-3477

375 University Ave East, Waterloo
————

First, Congratulations on winning Kitchener-Waterloo!

I’m writing out of urgent concern about the Comprehensive trade agreement with Europe that Harper is finalizing right now, and how it will affect our localities and our autonomy.

I was glad to hear that Waterloo, Kitchener, and the Region have all asked to be exempted.  But will that be enough to protect us from lawsuits and other pressures from huge corporations?
 
Here are a couple of videos:
 
The Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement Primer (CAW):

CUPE Video exposes CETA dangers:

CETA is the New ACTA (internet restrictions):

 
Today [Oct 16], twelve members of the Conservative federal government will be negotiating the final details of the CETA, the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement.
This deal is NAFTA ON STEROIDS and far larger than any Canada has ever constructed. Lawyer Steve Shrybman calls the CETA “a rewriting of the economic constitution”.

The recent slash and burn budget was preparation for CETA protocol, and the budget to come out this week will cut much more, to prepare for the demands in the CETA.

The urgency of the CETA is that, as international trade law, it is a permanent plan. It is not as difficult to change national policy as international, legally-binding policy between 13 countries!

CETA’s primary content is your city’s water, energy, buses, subways, hospitals and schools, to be opened permanently for bidding by transnational corporations. It also includes the sale of some crown corporations like Canada Post. This means that your town’s hydro, buses, drinking water, mail and more, could very well be run by foreign-owned corporations from the EU, the USA or Mexico.

The CETA will not give any more possibilities to Canadians, as foreign corporations can already have access to any of the contracts. But, the CETA will encourage cities to take these deals from foreign corporations much more often.

The largest ethical question is the Investor State style enforcement of the rules, borrowed from NAFTA. This means that if your city hall decides to keep an asset in public control by turning down the lowest bid from a foreign corporation, your city hall will be sued for damages. You and your fellow taxpaying community members will have to cover the costs.

Ask NFLD and Labrador how they were sued by AbbittibiBowater for 120 million when this American corporation used NAFTA to receive compensation for what they deemed their corporate rights to east coast land and water even after they shut down all their factories. There have been numerous such cases since NAFTA. CETA, being much more comprehensive, will cause an increase in these corporate attacks on citizens and our assets. Ultimately, with the CETA, it is the people who will have to pay.

Citizens from Southwestern Ontario have named Tuesday, October 16th, the second day of the final round of behind-closed-doors CETA negotiations, as an Ontario lobby day.
We are contacting MPPs to express our concerns about CETA.

* We demand a full public hearing, like the one Quebec people had two weeks ago.

* We urgently ask that the opt-out process written by city councillors across Ontario be honoured by the McGuinty government.

It is the provincial government that makes the decision on who and what is included into the CETA. However, as the vast majority of government officials have not been told about the contents of CETA, they do not recognize that this is an unprecedented Canadian moment,  and some are merely going by the party line, that trade will be good for the economy.
The jobs, service and quality of life for your family, your children, your community, and your city are all at stake.

 
I thank you for giving this issue your attention.

Sincerely,

Eleanor Grant
Waterloo