Showing posts with label Social Justice. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Social Justice. Show all posts

Thursday, January 5, 2017

CEO pay sets new record: study

Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
Canada’s 100 highest paid CEOs have set a new record: their total compensation in 2015 hit a new high at $9.5 million, on average, according to a new report by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA).  Details here.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Capitalist Production vs. The Earth

Briarpatch Magazine

While environmentalists may not often approach the issue of the environment from the point of view of labour, they have made sincere efforts to link their concern with the issue of labour generally. STORY HERE.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Conservative MP Absent From a Child Poverty Forum in Southwestern Manitoba.

Are hungry kids a priority for the Harper government?

by Larry Powell

The forum (for the riding of Dauphin - Swan River - Neepawa) was sponsored by the Mission and Services Committee of the Neepawa United Church. It drew about 80 people to the church on Wednesday. But only four of the five candidates (see below) took part in the debate - Ray Piché (Liberal),  Kate Storey (Green Party), Inky Mark (Ind.) and Laverne Lewycky (NDP).

The 5th candidate, the sitting Conservative MP for the area, Robert Sopuck (represented by the empty chair on the right), did not attend. His office manager in Neepawa, Christine Waddell, said he was in Inglis, a small community in the western part of the riding for the evening. She did not elaborate. But she did explain that a campaign worker was mistaken when he told forum organizers earlier that Mr. Sopuck would, in fact be there.

Piché, the Liberal candidate, said the MP's absence showed “disrespect” for the rest of the candidates. 

The church committee wanted to stress that child poverty in Canada is actually worse now than it was in 1989. That’s when the House of Commons voted unanimously to bring an end to the problem by the year 2,000. 

A display on the church wall, illustrating the impact of poverty on children. 
PinP photos.

For his part, Piché pledged that, if elected, his party would allocate $20 billion over 20 years in a "social framework" which would include early learning programs, quality child care and more parental leave for mothers after childbirth.

Lewycky said parents now pay up to $1,000 a month for child care. Under an NDP government,  he promised, parents can expect quality child care for just $15 a day.

Storey said the Green Party supports an experimental income support program such as the one conducted in Dauphin in the 70s, called “Mincome”. By “topping up” incomes of low - wage earners, many positive results were documented, including fewer hospital visits and lower crime rates.

Mark told the forum he too would support such a plan, but only if it replaced other programs, such as social assistance. He said children aren't the only ones who suffer poverty. Seniors do, too. And he suggested neither the Canada Pension Plan nor Old Age Security should not be taxed. 

Sopuck himself hasn't yet commented on his absence.

The forum was taped and will be broadcast on NACTV in Neepawa at 8 o'clock, CDT, this evening (Oct. 1).

Thursday, May 14, 2015

A US Energy Giant Gets a Big Fine After Pleading Guilty to Environmental Crimes

Winnipeg Free Press
GREENVILLE, N.C. - Duke Energy has pleaded guilty in federal court to environmental crimes and agreed to pay $102 million in fines and restitution for illegally discharging pollution from coal-ash dumps at five North Carolina power plants. Story here.

Monday, December 29, 2014

A Canadian City Once Eliminated Poverty And Nearly Everyone Forgot About It

Huffington Post
On a December afternoon, Frances Amy Richardson took a break from her quilting class to reflect on a groundbreaking experiment she took part in 40 years earlier. Story here.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Stop Tanzania From Kicking the Maasai Off Their Land! PLEASE, PLEASE SIGN!

   + US                   Fighting for people over profit.

Sign the petition to Tanzania's President.

President Kikwete: keep your promise to the Maasai people and cancel the deal that would kick them off their ancestral land to make way for a Dubai-owned hunting reserve, and guarantee permanent rights to their lands in writing.  CLICK HERE TO SIGN THE PETITION!

Friday, October 31, 2014

Research Suggests Our Past, Prolific Use Of The Insecticide DDT May Still Be Contributing To A Scourge Of Modern-Day Diseases Related To Obesity.

Is a world-wide ban now the only ethical thing to do?

by Larry Powell

Did your parents farm In Canada in the years following World War 11, as mine did? If so, little would they have dreamed of the health dangers lurking within the popular chemical, DDT, which they might well have been spraying on their fields.

The product was applied widely (some say indiscriminately) back then to kill bugs that were consuming food crops and forests and spreading human diseases like typhus and malaria. Just as common were assurances from government and industry that “all was well.”

But DDT was banned in North America in the 70’s after Rachel Carson exposed it in her book,“Silent Spring” as the culprit in massive die-offs of birds and fish and as a “definite chemical carcinogen.”

DDT made a significant resurgence in the early 2000’s, however. 

That’s when the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the World Health Organization began promoting programs to control malaria, notably in Sub-Saharan Africa. DDT is sprayed indoors and used to treat bed nets to protect people from malaria mosquitoes. It is now estimated up to 5 thousand tonnes are applied yearly.

But the degree to which DDT can harm not only those directly exposed, but their offspring several generations later, has only recently become better understood.

Late last year, a research team at Washington State University (WSU), published a study with a disturbing finding; “The biohazards of DDT are significantly greater than anticipated.”

In experiments with laboratory rats, the team discovered that the chemical seems to have the ability to cause serious ailments related to obesity (metabolic disease) in offspring born to parents directly exposed, even though those offspring had no such exposure, themselves. They include diabetes, diseases of the liver, kidney, heart and reproductive organs, male infertility and a shorter life.

DDT thus joins a growing list of substances such as jet fuel and dioxins with the same dubious ability.

So the researchers now believe that, while diet and lifestyle  are playing a role,  the DDT applied during its heyday, too, is still contributing to the deadly epidemic of obesity that has been sweeping this continent for years.

“No known genetic mechanism could explain the rapid increase in the incidence of obesity in the last 30 years,” observes the WSU study.   
Queens University in Ontario estimates that 57 thousand Canadians died of obesity-related ailments between 1985 and 2,000. And Memorial University in Newfoundland has concluded that obesity rates “tripled between 1985 and 2011.”

A biology teacher at WSU, Michael Skinner (above), headed that study. In an e-mail to PinP, Dr. Skinner confidently defends his team’s research results.

“In the 40s and 50s, all of North America and the entire population was exposed to DDT. We are now three generations from the 1950s, when the obesity metabolic disease frequency was around 5% and today is near 40% of the population. So, yes, some of the disease today is due to these ancestral exposures.”

Some researchers now believe DDT should be banned, worldwide.

This summer, WSU did a follow-up study, this time with unusual input from the its School of Philosophy. It examined the ethical and moral implications of DDT’s continued use, in the wake of last year’s disturbing revelations. “Current day exposures need to now be considered in light of the transgenerational actions of DDT,” the team concludes. As Prof. Skinner puts it, a worldwide ban is now a matter of “environmental justice. There are alternatives with shorter half-lives that need to be considered.”

But convincing the world that a total ban is needed, may not be easy.

In 2009, the Annual Review of Entomology reported that, after some two decades of DDT application, the death rate from malaria had plummeted. In 1900, it was claiming more than 19 lives per ten thousand population; in 1970, fewer than two. The Review calls that “a massive reduction.” And the Gates Foundation claims its program has helped reduce the death toll from malaria by more than 40 percent over the past dozen years or so.

But the WSU ethics paper poses some convincing arguments of its own; Health implications uncovered by the recent research are endangering individuals "who are not able to have any voice in the decision to use the pesticide." So we must now balance the number of lives being saved from malaria, against the implications that its continued usage will surely have. “There are now many accounts of socially disadvantaged, ethnic groups and the poor, suffering the ill effects of environmental degradation,” states the report. “DDT use in the developing world looks set to be yet another case in that sad history. The harm will only fully emerge over the course of a number of generations.”

The report concludes that the burden of proof must now shift back to those advocating for its continued use. And the worst thing that could happen would be to carry on with the status quo without careful consideration of the consequences.
Postscript: I asked the Gates Foundation and the World Health Organization for comments on this some time ago. I am still waiting for their responses.
(This article is also posted on "OpEd News," where it drew about a dozen comments! Please read them here.)


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Cree Nation Occupies Hydro-Dam in Manitoba

Council of Canadians

More than 100 people from the Cross Lake First Nation (Pimicikamak Cree Nation), located north of Lake Winnipeg, occupied the grounds of the Jenpeg hydro-dam last week. Chief Catherine Merrick said the First Nation is taking control of its traditional territory and evicting Manitoba Hydro. Story here.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Blogger Invites Prominent Tories to Join Greens (Letter)

Dear Editor,

As a member of the Green Party, I'd like to invite two prominent Conservatives in my area, Ken Waddell, the publisher of the Neepawa Banner (formerly the Mayor) and Robert Sopuck, my Member of Parliament, to join the "Greens!"

I was delighted, Mr. Waddell, to read your recent column, supporting (or, at least inviting a debate on) a guaranteed minimum income, as embodied in the successful "Mincome" pilot project in Dauphin back in the 70s. It so happens my party has endorsed such a policy for years. I actually wrote a paper for the Green Party of Manitoba myself a few years ago, detailing the success of "Mincome" and pointing out what a "win-win" effort it was, enriching the lives of many poor and disadvantaged people in just about every way that counted.

And I don't think we need to agonize over how to pay for it. 

Monday, March 3, 2014

Ahhh...That's Awful! That's Tetley! Please sign!

Recent reports disclose the horrific reality behind the Tetley tea empire --workers on plantations in northern India, including children, are paid less than $3 a day to pick our tea.

Boycott Tetley!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

CEO Earnings are a Stark Contrast to the Average Canadian Income

Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives

Five years after a global recession knocked the wind out of Canada’s labour market,  the compensation of Canada’s CEO elite continues to sail along. Details here.
Fall of 2011. Ordinary Canadians 
rally at the Manitoba legislature 
to protest against corporate greed. 
Has anything changed? (PLT Photo)

Friday, November 22, 2013

UN Court Orders Russia To Release Greenpeace Crew and Ship

Huffington Post

BERLIN (AP) — A U.N.-mandated tribunal has ordered Russia to immediately release a Greenpeace ship and its crew in return for a 3.6 million euro ($5 million) bond. Details here.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Feeding the Flame of Revolt

OpEd News - by Chris Hedges

New York - I was in federal court here Friday for the sentencing of Jeremy Hammond to 10 years in prison for hacking into the computers of a private security firm that works on behalf of the government, including the Department of Homeland Security, and corporations such as Dow Chemical. Details here.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Arctic 30 Day 59: Global solidarity protests


Hi Larry,
263 cities, 43 countries. Today, thousands of people took their outrage over the ongoing detention of the Arctic 30 straight to the doorsteps of Russian embassies and oil giants Shell and Gazprom. In a massive global day of action people all over the world demanded the release of the Arctic 30 and showed the oil companies that we will not let them get away with the silencing of peaceful protest.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

A Global Ban on Left-Wing Politics?

That’s what the new rules being smuggled into trade agreements are delivering.
By George Monbiot, published in the Guardian 5th November 2013
Remember that referendum about whether we should create a single market with the United States? You know, the one that asked whether corporations should have the power to strike down our laws? No, I don’t either. Mind you, I spent ten minutes looking for my watch the other day, before I realised I was wearing it. Forgetting about the referendum is another sign of ageing. Because there must have been one, mustn’t there? After all that agonising over whether or not we should stay in the European Union(1), the government wouldn’t cede our sovereignty to some shadowy, undemocratic body without consulting us. 
Would it?

Monday, October 21, 2013

Trapped in a Russian Jail


Help free 30 brave men and women of Greenpeace. They face long prison terms for simply protesting against oil drilling in the fragile Arctic eco-system. Please sign the petition! You can help!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

The Folly of Empire

The final days of empire give ample employment and power to the feckless, the insane and the idiotic. Details here.

Diesel vehicles in oil sands operations contribute to regional pollution

EurekAlert Wildfires, cigarette smoking and vehicles all emit a potentially harmful compound called isocyanic acid. The substance has been l...