Thursday, February 28, 2013

Israeli Apartheid Week 2013, Regina

Please join us for a week of films, music, public lectures, and popular education in support of Palestinian liberation. All events are FREE ADMISSION.
Teach-in on the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement
U of R, Ad Hum Pit
March 5th @ 12:30pm
Come learn about the history of the Palestinian struggle, what the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement is all about, and how you can get involved here in Regina. Free and open to everyone. The teach-in will be followed by an action-planning meeting at 2:30 in Ad Hum 318, hosted by Students Against Israeli Apartheid.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Is Saskatchewan Thinking Globally and Acting Locally?

By Jim Harding
No Nukes
February 27, 2013

All of us everywhere on the planet must think globally while acting locally. Parochialism is counterproductive; our industrial practices anywhere act upon one planet, and the blowback from “Gaia” doesn’t occur proportionate to ecological abuse. The climate crisis is already dramatically affecting areas like the circumpolar Arctic, which contribute little if any greenhouses gases into the global mix; the early victims aren't necessarily the main perpetrators. The pursuit of global justice therefore goes hand in hand with the pursuit of sustainability.

How is our province doing facing up to this global challenge? The Wall government likely believes it is thinking globally and acting locally. We are after all, building our provincial economy out of world demand for non-renewable resources here. But this isn’t exactly what we mean. This is similar to the kind of thinking that was used to continue to ship slaves across oceans because there was still an economic demand; or for that matter, the thinking still used to try to justify exporting illicit drugs to lucrative markets abroad; the end justifies the means.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Louise Lucas (1885–1945)

By Fay Hutchinson 
Encyclopedia of Saskatchewan

Louise Lucas (née Nachweih), known as the Mother of the CCF (Co-operative Commonwealth Federation), worked to advance Saskatchewan farmers, especially farm women. Born in Chicago in 1885, the daughter of German immigrants, Louise Lucas and husband Henry immigrated to Milestone in 1911.

They settled at Mazenod in 1920. Considering herself an equal partner on the farm, she became interested in the co-operative ideas of the farm movement and joined the local women’s lodge of the United Farmers of Canada (UFC), Saskatchewan Section. Elected a director in 1930, she became president of the UFC Women’s Section from 1931 to 1933. In summer 1932, Lucas helped form the Saskatchewan Farmer-Labour Group and participated in the Calgary conference where the CCF was born. In 1933, at its first national convention, she introduced the health services section of the Regina Manifesto. Lucas was a popular speaker in German as well as English. 

Despite her duties as a farmer and mother of six, she constantly toured Saskatchewan, spreading her message of co-operation, women’s rights, and social justice. She served on CCF national and provincial councils, and ran—unsuccessfully—in the federal elections of 1935 (Battlefords constituency) and 1940 (Melville). She continued organizing in Melville until 1943, when she was nominated again; illness then forced her to withdraw. She died on October 17, 1945. Louise Lucas was inducted into the Saskatchewan Agricultural Hall of Fame in 1973.

Further Reading Wright, J.F.C. 1965. The Louise Lucas Story: This Time Tomorrow. Montreal: Harvest House.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

The Spirit of '45 Trailer - In cinemas 15th March

Academy Awards: When 'No' gets a 'Yes!' in Chile

Chile's film industry is excited about its first Oscar nomination for the controversial Pinochet-era film, 'No.'

By Steven Bodzin
February 23, 2013

When you click on the website of CinemaChile, the promoter of Chilean films around the world, you see a close-up of Mexican actor Gael García Bernal looking over his shoulder, a huge rainbow blurred out in the background. No one familiar with Chilean film needs the tiny caption. It’s from the movie “No,” released in 2012, now representing Chile at the Academy Awards as the country’s first-ever Oscar nomination.

With the Oscar ceremony set for Sunday evening,Santiago’s small but thriving film world is preparing for a late night — the broadcast will start at 9 p.m. local time. And the habitual local pessimism is yielding to a spot of hope.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Angola: Is this the country Agostinho Neto dreamt of?

By Abdulrazaq Magaji
2013-02-20, Issue 617

The southern African nation is now peaceful and petro-dollars are pouring in. Yet the greatest beneficiaries are the United States, Great Britain and Portugal, the evil triad that laboured in vain to abort the Angolan dream

It will be 34 years, come September, since the death of Dr. Agostinho Neto, Angola’s first president. Dr. Neto was the man who changed the face of Angola’s armed struggle against Portuguese occupation after joining the People's Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA). He had slipped through the claws of PIDE, the Portuguese secret police, in Lisbon from where he fled to join the liberation movement in Morocco. The Marxist-oriented Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola, popularly known by its Portuguese acronym, MPLA, was one of the three visible liberation movements in Angola. The other two are the Union of Total Independence of Angola, UNITA and the front for the National Liberation of Angola, FNLA, led respectively by Jonas Savimbi and Roberto Holden.

Meili Retro 3

Regina: Co-operative Commonwealth Federation. Saskatchewan Section, [1938]

Free Film Event: Feb. 24, Regina

More Meili Retro...

Biofuel rush wiping out America’s grasslands at fastest pace since the 1930s

Climate Connetions
February 21, 2013

Note: Rather than algae or cellulosic biofuels, as the author suggests, which will create just another grab for land to produce cellulose for bioenergy, we must challenge and ultimately dismantle the systems which give rise to the exorbitant consumption of energy. Without addressing the drivers of energy and resource consumption, social and ecological devastation will only continue to accelerate.
–The GJEP Team

By Brad Plumer
 February 20, 2013

This map shows the percentage of existing grasslands that were converted into corn or soybean fields between 2006 and 2011. Photo: Washington Post

America’s prairies are shrinking. Spurred on by the rush for biofuels, farmers are digging up grasslands in the northern Plains to plant crops at the quickest pace since the 1930s. While that’s been a boon for farmers, the upheaval could create unexpected problems.

A new study by Christopher Wright and Michael Wimberly of South Dakota State University finds that U.S. farmers converted more than 1.3 million acres of grassland into corn and soybean fields between 2006 and 2011, driven by high crop prices and biofuel mandates (right). In states like Iowa and South Dakota, some 5 percent of pasture is turning into cropland each year.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Meili Retro


For us historically minded, why this image has "Meili Retro!" on it...

SaskPharm Article

SaskOil Article

Historic Two Day Strike Paralyses India

20 February, 2013

Workers began a two day strike in India to protest rising prices and government policies to open up the economy. Millions of factory and bank employees stayed away from work and public transport was shut down in most big cities after major trade unions called the countrywide strike. It is the first time since the Independent struggle that India witnesses two consecutive days of strikes.

A labour leader was fatally crushed when he tried to stop buses from leaving a terminal in Ambala, Haryana.

Workers armed with iron rods smashed factory windows and set a fire truck and several cars on fire in Noida.

Trade unions oppose government policies to open the retail, banking and aviation sectors to foreign investors in an effort to jumpstart India's sputtering economy.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

SaskPharm: a proposal for provincial drug production

By Ryan Meili
CMAJ Journal
July 11, 2011

Recent months have seen a renewed call to attenuate the runaway costs in the least controlled segment of the health care system: prescription drugs. In 2009, Canadians spent $30 billion1 on pharmaceuticals.

There has been much discussion of how we should pay for prescriptions: individually, both out-of-pocket and through insurance plans, or collectively through taxation. An oft-neglected, related issue is the question of who makes the medications. Many are available in generic forms, produced at a fraction of what it cost the original manufacturers. Generic companies then sell the medications at a relative fraction of the discount, which is to say that the profit margin on generic drugs is very high.

Leaving aside for a moment who will pay for medications, what if governments made them?

In Saskatchewan, as in many provinces in Canada, there is a long history of successful Crown corporations. They effectively and profitably provide essential services such as vehicle insurance, telephone services and electricity, and sport provincially patriotic names like SaskTel or SaskPower. Consider for a moment a hypothetical Crown corporation that produces generic drugs: SaskPharm.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Saskatchewan NDP chooses a new leader

FEBRUARY 19, 2013

The Saskatchewan NDP will meet in Saskatoon on March 9 to select a new leader. They are in dire straits.

Lorne Calvert's NDP government was defeated in the election in 2007 and received only 37 per cent of the vote. Under Dwaine Lingenfelter they were defeated in the 2011 election and received only 32 per cent of the vote. With the disappearance of the provincial Liberal Party, they now have to win close to 50 per cent of the votes to form a government.

Support for the party has dropped dramatically since Roy Romanow's NDP government moved steadily to the right to embrace the neoliberal agenda. Membership has fallen from 47,000 in 1991 to 11,000 in 2013. The vote for the NDP has fallen from 275,000 in 1991 to only 127,000 in 2011. In addition, the total vote in provincial elections has fallen from 540,000 in 1991 to 396,000 in 2011. The drop in vote has been greatest in the safest NDP ridings.

The Resurrection of Norman Bethune

Of Patriots, physicians and political poltroons...

By Bill Annett 
Dissident Voice
February 19th, 2013

And even madmen manage to convey
Unwelcome truths in lonely gibberish.

— W.H. Auden

Norman Bethune was born into a Scottish-Canadian family in the small Ontario town of Gravenhurst, his forebears largely medical practitioners and/or Presbyterians. He attended the University of Toronto, eventually earning a degree in medicine, practised medicine in Montreal, and was apparently a highly innovative physician, since his design of the Bethune Shears for chopping open the rib cage is still used today, 75 years later. That’s the good part, viewed from a contemporary Conservative – or conservative – point of view.

However, interspersed with that classic Canadiana, he (1) interrupted his studies to be a stretcher-bearer – shrapnel-wounded – in the War to end all wars, (2) joined the Communist Party of Canada in 1935, (3) took part in the Spanish Civil War in 1936, along with other good-guy Communists like Ernest Hemingway and the English poets of the time, where he (4) devised a revolutionary system for supplying blood transfusion close to the front, thereby saving many lives, (5) in 1938 he joined Mao-Zedong’s (or whatever the current spelling is) Army contra both the Japanese invaders and the Chiang Kai-shek capitalists and, as a result, (6) he became a Chinese super-hero, patron saint and revolutionary icon. The greatest living Canadian example of a prophet who (because he was largely ignored back home) was not without honor, save in his own country. He died, almost unnecessarily, from an accidental scalpel cut on his finger during battlefield surgery, and the ensuing blood poison, occurring in less than clinical conditions. To say that he was buried in China with full military honors would be a gross understatement. He is enshrined in that country with all the national pomp, ceremony and prestige normally reserved for warlords, emperors, ancient dynasty members and contemporary members of the Politburo.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Saskatchewan’s Anti-Poverty Plan, From Dependence to Independence: Does It Measure Up?

Paul Gingrich and Brian Banks
Saskatchewan Office


In the summer of 2012, the Saskatchewan government published its anti-poverty strategy, From Dependence to Independence, claiming that no previous administration in the province had approached the challenge of poverty “with a comparable commitment to holistic, cross-government solutions.” A new report from the Saskatchewan Office of the CCPA assesses the claims of the government’s strategy, critically comparing Saskatchewan’s anti-poverty plan to that of other provincial programs to reduce poverty. Saskatchewan’s Anti-Poverty Plan, From Dependence to Independence: Does It Measure Up? by Brian Banks and Paul Gingrich demonstrates several serious shortcomings within the government's anti-poverty strategy arguing that the government has not committed to the development of a comprehensive and integrated plan even though it claims to have done so.

Download this publication HERE.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The City of Regina’s Unquenchable Thirst for Bad Ideas

By Simon Enoch
Saskatchewan Office CCPA
February 13th, 2013

It seems the City of Regina just can’t get enough of bad deals. Hot on the heels of the City Plaza debacle and the stadium funding mess, the City has now announced its intention to enter into a 30-year contract with a private corporation to upgrade its waste water treatment facilities. Just as the City seems immune to the evidence that sports stadiums are a poor use of taxpayer money it seems equally oblivious to the mountain of evidence that essential public infrastructure should remain in public hands. In the case of contracting out wastewater treatment, the record is anything but reassuring.

Event: "Create a Better World Together"

Mother Earth Justice Advocates

MEJA facebook event page HERE.